Lebanon’s President Aoun hopes PM Hariri departure from Riyadh will alleviate the situation

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said that he hoped the crisis over the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, and his alleged detention in Saudi Arabia, would soon end – when Hariri would arrive in Paris tomorrow (Saturday) on the invitation of French President Emanuel Macron. President Aoun said, “You all know the crisis we have gone through, we hope today it apparently found a door of solution. Prime Minister Hariri (Saad al-Hariri) accepted the invitation and he will be going to France. We hope it will go well and we will have ended the current crisis,” he said in a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Beirut.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has refused to accept his prime minister’s resignation, accused the Saudis of forcing Hariri to resign and holding Hariri hostage in the Arab Kingdom – calling Riyadh’s actions “an act of aggression against Lebanon.” Saudi Arabia, on its part, has vehemently denied detaining Hariri or forcing him to resign his post.

A Saudi official told TV7 that “Prime Minister Hariri made it clear in his statement that he was willing to withdraw from his decision to resign, only if the Shi’ite Hezbollah organization would respect Lebanon’s policy of disassociating itself from regional conflicts in support of its patron, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and would turn away from its aggressive conduct and commit to Lebanon’s laws.” With regard to the allegations of holding the Lebanese Prime Minister hostage in Beirut, the Saudi official pointed to the expected trip by Hariri and his family to Paris tomorrow, saying “it shows the ongoing policy of Iran and its allies in trying to deceive the international community by applying slurs of lies and rhetoric and Saudi Arabia.”

Meanwhile in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that there is great concern with regard to the stability of Lebanon, considering the latest developments, and urged political actors in the region to deal with the dangerous challenge with both prudence and a sense of proportion. FM Gabriel said, “We have a large interest in the unity and the stability of the country. We are standing side by side with Lebanon and all those who want to keep this unity and this stability. We call on all political actors in the region to deal with this conflict with prudence and a sense of proportion,” the German Foreign Minister said in a televised press conference.

A French source told TV7 that Paris was “closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East in general and Lebanon in particular to apply different methods of defusing the tension”, while noting that “France is coordinating these efforts with its allies in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, as well as other international partners.”