Saudi ties complicate Europe's Hariri diplomacy

The comments were published on his official Twitter account.

Aoun has previously said he will not accept Hariri's resignation until he returns to Beirut to tender it and explain his reasons.

On Monday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "we are preoccupied by the situation in Lebanon".

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a statement that he would not accept Prime Minister Hariri's resignation unless delivered in Beirut and properly explained. He announced his unexpected resignation in a pre-recorded statement broadcast on Saudi TV, in which he lashed out at Hezbollah and said he feared for his safety.

"Whenever we see a problem, we see Hezbollah act as an arm or agent of Iran and this has to come to an end", he said after meeting his French counterpart in Riyadh.

"We need to have leaders who are free to express themselves", said Macron.

Hariri's interview on Sunday night, carried by Future TV, a channel associated with his political party, raised some new questions. Lebanon's top security agencies say they have no information to share about possible plots against the premier's life.

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France's Foreign Minister is arriving in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to meet with Hariri and Saudi officials.

Hezbollah accused the kingdom of seeking to sow chaos in Lebanon. "He leaves when he wants to", he said. Hariri supported the group and provided it with political cover while it supported Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his forces in the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, but because Hariri has stepped down, the group now fears that they will face strict sanctions from the US government.

The former presidential consultant added that Egypt plays a pivotal role in the endeavors aiming to resolve the current Lebanese crisis by virtue of its political influence on the Arab and regional scales, as well as it strong ties with all countries. Aoun is a Hezbollah ally but is personally close to Hariri.

Hariri refuted supporting the Iran-backed guerrilla group in any way, announcing his resignation the following day from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

France, Lebanon's onetime colonial ruler, has been trying to mediate the crisis.

"He will come to France and the prince has been informed", Le Drian told reporters, referring to powerful Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with whom he held talks the night before.

  • Adam Floyd