President Macron invites former Lebanon PM to France

ANI | Updated: Nov 16, 2017 02:51 IST

Paris [France], November 16 (ANI): French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his family to France in a bid to defuse tensions in the Middle East.

"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 Élysee Palace said in a statement.

Lebanon Prime Minister Hariri had unexpectedly resigned in a televised address from Riyadh, and said that he feared for his life.

However, President Macron clarified that he is not offering Hariri a political "exile," but wants him to come to France for a while to help calm tensions in Lebanon.

President Macron had last week paid an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia amid an escalating crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

France has close ties with Lebanon, a former colony, and with Hariri, who has a home in France after spending several years in the country.

Saudi Arabia had recently accused Lebanon of declaring war against it, citing the presence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah members in its government.

Saudi Arabia has also asked its citizens residing in Lebanon to leave the country as soon as possible and advised its citizens not to travel to Lebanon from any other international destinations.

Lebanon is sharply divided along a camp loyal to Saudi Arabia, headed by the Sunni Muslim Hariri, and a camp loyal to Iran represented by Hezbollah. (ANI)

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