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Hariri to leave Saudi Arabia for France on Friday – MP

A poster showing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation from Saudi Arabia, is seen in Beirut, Lebanon

Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanese prime minister on Nov 4 during a visit to Saudi Arabia, will leave Riyadh for France on Friday, a member of his party said.

“Today to Paris, this afternoon, and tomorrow a family meeting with (French President Emmanuel) Macron,” Okab Saqr, a member of parliament for Future Movement, told Reuters.

Hariri’s abrupt resignation while he was in Saudi Arabia and his continued stay there have caused a political crisis in Lebanon and thrust it into the bitter rivalry between Riyadh and Iran.

On Wednesday, Macron invited Hariri to visit France along with his family, providing what French diplomats said might be a way to reduce tensions surrounding the crisis.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri and his family hostage. In his resignation broadcast, Hariri railed against Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which gives political backing to Aoun.

Aoun has said he will not accept Hariri’s resignation until it is submitted in person and Hariri would then have to remain in Lebanon until a new government had been formed.

Lebanese politicians from across the political spectrum have called for Hariri to return to the country as necessary to resolve the crisis.

Saqr said that after Hariri’s visit to France, he would have “a small Arab tour” before travelling to Beirut.

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