French president invites Lebanese PM to France

French president invites Lebanese PM to France

French president invites Lebanese PM to France

Current unrest in the region started on November 4, when the prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, announced his resignation by reading a statement on live television.

Speaking in the German city of Bonn after a climate conference, Macron said his invitation was not an offer of exile for Hariri, who announced his abrupt resignation as premier 11 days ago from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

The resignation of the Saudi-allied Hariri's and its aftermath have put Lebanon back to the forefront of the conflict between Shi'ite-led Iran and its regional Sunni rival Saudi Arabia.

The Shia Islamist Hezbollah movement, an Iranian proxy that Riyadh considers a terrorist group, is part of the coalition government that Hariri formed past year. He said Hariri needed to return to Lebanon to prove he was free. Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has stated that he believes Riyadh is restricting Hariri's freedom, has refused to his resignation until his return from Saudi Arabia.

His abrupt resignation on November 4 sent Lebanon spinning into political crisis and back onto the front line of the Middle East power struggle between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran.

Aoun said the Saudis were also holding family members of Hariri, adding: "We have not previously asked for their return, but we have confirmed that [his family] is also detained and family members are being searched as they enter and leave the house." .

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In his first public statement, Bahaa Hariri blasted Iran and its militant Lebanese proxy.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in Paris on Tuesday that any punitive sanctions by Saudi Arabia on Lebanon would impact the region and Syrian refugees in the country.

According to the president, it is not possible to make a decision about a resignation filed from overseas. Saudi Arabia is seeking to impose its will on the Lebanese government.

In an address to the French National Assembly, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said: "The goal is for Saad Hariri to be able to return home freely to clarify his situation in accordance with the Lebanese constitution".

Worldwide pressure has been mounting for Hariri to return to Beirut after his prolonged stay in the kingdom since he announced in a televised speech from Riyadh on November 4 that he would be stepping down, tipping his country into crisis.

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