France says Lebanon's Hariri will arrive 'in coming days'

AFP , Wednesday 15 Nov 2017

File Photo: French President Emmanuel Macron (R) shaking hands with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a press conference at the Murat Lounge in the Elysee Palace in Paris. (Photo: AFP)

Lebanon's former prime minister Saad Hariri will come to France "in the coming days", a source at the French presidency told AFP on Wednesday.

The development came after the office of President Emmanuel Macron said he had "invited" Hariri and his family to France.

The statement said the invitation came after Macron spoke by telephone with both the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Hariri, who announced his resignation in a surprise statement from the kingdom on November 4.

Speculation has swirled around Hariri's prolonged stay in Saudi Arabia since the announcement.

There were rumours that Hariri, who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom, had been detained along with dozens of Saudis in what Riyadh says is an anti-corruption campaign.

Hariri moved to dispel rumours of his detention, saying on Twitter that he had freedom of movement.

He said he was planning to return home to his "beloved" Lebanon.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has yet to officially accept Hariri's resignation, and has said he will not do so before meeting the premier in person -- in Lebanon.

France said earlier Wednesday that Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was to meet with Hariri on Thursday during a visit to Saudi Arabia.

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