President Macron tries to diffuse tensions in the Middle East and invites Lebanon's ex-premier to France
French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Lebanon’s former prime minister, Saad Hariri and his family to France.
The French leader made the invitation while attending a conference in Germany.
Macron said it was not an offer of “exile” for Hariri who resigned 11 days ago from Saudi Arabia.
“We need a strong Lebanon, we need territorial integrity in Lebanon, and we need leaders who are free to make choices and to express them. I spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman and with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and we agreed that I’ll invite him for a few days with his family to France.
Hariri’s unexpected resignation has aggravated a political rift, with Lebanon’s president now publically accusing Riyadh of holding Hariri hostage.
The Saudi government has denied this or that pressured him to resign to in an attempt to curb the influence of its regional rival, Iran.
Shia Islamists Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy is part of the unity government that Hariri formed last year.