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Macron invites Lebanon PM Hariri, family to France

Macron invites Lebanon PM Hariri, family to France

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his family to France, his office said in a statement.

"After speaking with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the president has invited Saad al-Hariri and his family to France," the Elysee said on Wednesday, without elaborating on the reason for the invitation, Xinhua reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Macron said he hoped "that the Lebanese Prime Minister can confirm in Lebanon his willingness to resign if that is his choice," said government spokesman Christophe Castaner.

On November 4, Hariri announced he would quit his post in a televised speech aired from the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

He accused Iran, a major foe of Saudi Arabia, of interfering in Lebanese internal affairs through the militant group Hezbollah, and said his life was in danger.

A few days later, he said during a television appearance that he would return to Beirut "within the coming few days."

However, Lebanese officials claimed his decision was forced by Saudi Arabia, Hariri's main political ally.

Lebanon President Michel Aoun had refused the resignation, calling on Hariri to return home to formally submit it.

As another political crisis is looming in the Arab country, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian flew to Saudi Arabia earlier in the day "to confirm France's attachment to Lebanon's stability within this context."

The French top diplomat was scheduled to hold talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and meet Hariri on Thursday.

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