Saudis holding PM Hariri hostage, says Lebanon President

A poster depicting Lebanon

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and his family will travel to France in coming days, a French presidential source said on Wednesday, after Emmanuel Macron invited him as part of efforts to defuse tensions in the Middle East.

Before departing to Saudi Arabia Rai said the return of Hariri from Saudi Arabia was essential for Lebanon's stability.

Speaking on Wednesday, Aoun also said he will not accept Hariri's resignation until he presents it himself upon his arrival in Beirut.

"Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return for 12 days, therefore we consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention", Aoun has stated on the Twitter account of the Lebanese presidency, adding that he can not accept resignation submitted from overseas.

Hariri is a Saudi ally who holds dual citizenship.

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In a follow-up phone call from Monaco with the AP Wednesday, Bahaa Hariri declined to comment further.

Riyadh and Hariri both oppose Hezbollah's military role in Syria, fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad, and what they allege is its participation in Yemen's civil war alongside the Houthi group against a Saudi-led coalition.

Riyadh denies detaining him or forcing him to resign. 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. He also expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia for "decades of support" for Lebanon's national institutions.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, has made the same accusation.

Those who attended the meeting cited the President as also saying that he considered Hariri's alleged detention to be an "act of aggression" by Saudi Arabia.

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According to the president, it is not possible to make a decision about a resignation filed from overseas.

Shortly after Aoun's remarks, Hariri tweeted that he was "very, very well" and that he would return to "the beloved Lebanon".

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil delivers a press conference in Paris, November 14, 2017.

Former Prime Minister Hariri, who is believed to be in Saudi Arabia, has previously stated on Twitter that he would return to Lebanon in the next few days.

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