The Lebanese president has commented on the shock resignation of Prime Minister Hariri, who is currently in Saudi Arabia.
According to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Paris believes that former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is free in his movements and is not being held in Saudi Arabia.
“What we have determined is that he resigned and traveled to [the UAE capital] Abu-Dhabi on the eve of [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron’s visit [to the United Arab Emirates]. We think he is free in his movements, and it’s important that he can make his own choices. What worries us is the stability in Lebanon and the quick finding of a political solution,” Le Drian told the Europe 1 broadcaster.
The statement comes after Macron has stated that had an “informal contact” with Hariri, during his visit to Dubai, adding that France did not receive any request from Lebanese ex-prime minister to come to the country.
Reaction to Hariri’s Shock Resignation
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has reportedly told Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Lebanon that Hariri must return to the country, calling the circumstances of his resignation unacceptable.
Hariri, who was the prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and took office again in November 2016, resigned on November 4 while visiting Saudi Arabia, citing concerns he could be assassinated like his father and criticized the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah paramilitary and political movement and accused Iran of alleged attempts to bring destruction to the region.
Media reports citing a Lebanese official have suggested that Hariri’s freedom was “restricted” in Riyadh, however, later his office stated that the former prime minister had met a number of European and US diplomats.
READ MORE: Lebanese Authorities Claim Ex-PM Hariri Being Held in Saudi Arabia — Reports
Riyadh and Hariri aides have denied allegations that he is under house arrest, but haven’t denied that movements were being restricted.