Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri has finally left Saudi Arabia for France, according to a TV channel owned by his family.
Saad Hariri gave an unexpected resignation on the 4th of November during a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Hariri’s resignation has not been accepted yet. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has recalled its envoy to Berlin over comments by Germany’s foreign minister suggesting that Mr. Hariri was held against his will.
Lebanon PM Saad Hariri: Was not held as a hostage by the Saudi’s
According to a tweet by Mr. Hariri, he strictly denied the claims of him being held as a hostage in the Gulf kingdom, tweeting that it “is a lie”.
Sigmar Gabriel, the Saudi’s envoy made remarks during the press conference with his Lebanese counterpart that “Saudi Arabia has decided to recall its ambassador to Germany for consultations and will give the German ambassador in the kingdom a letter protesting these unfortunate and unjustified statements,”
“Mr. Hariri left Riyadh airport on his private jet with his wife and is headed for Le Bourget airport (near Paris),” announced by Future TV on early Saturday. Mr. Hariri is expected to meet Mr. Macron and then visit other Arab capitals before a possible return to the Lebanese capital Beirut.
According to the President Emmanuel Macron, he had invited Mr. Hariri and his family to Paris after a telephonic conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The French president was later forced to clarify that he was not offering political exile to Mr. Saad Hariri and his family and that he expects Mr. Hariri to stay only “for a few days”.
According to BBC, France has been trying to mediate in the crisis. Mr. Hariri’s departure for France marks a new chapter in an extraordinary political crisis which continues to be a source of intense speculation as well as condemnation.
Lebanese officials had earlier said Mr. Hariri was being detained in Saudi Arabia – a claim denied as “false” by Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has also denied forcing Mr. Hariri to resign in an attempt to curb the influence of its regional rival Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah.
In a televised address from Riyadh, Mr. Hariri announced his resignation and accused Iran of seeding “discord, devastation and destruction” in the region and said he feared there was an assassination plot against him.His father Rafik – himself a former Lebanese prime minister – was killed in a suicide bombing in Beirut in 2005.
Several members of Hezbollah are being tried in absentia at a UN-backed tribunal at The Hague, in connection with the attack, though the group has denied any involvement. Mr. Hariri has close ties with Saudi Arabia.