Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister free to return home, says Saudi FM

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Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has denied allegations that Lebanon’s outgoing Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, is being held against his wish in the kingdom, saying he is free to return home.

“The resigned Lebanese prime minister is living in Saudi Arabia of his own free will.

“He is the one, who decides on his return to Lebanon,” al-Jubeir said at a joint news conference in Riyadh with visiting French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Drian.

Al-Jubeir dismissed accusations that Saudi Arabia is holding Hariri against his wish as “baseless.”

Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, has accused Riyadh of detaining Hariri, who is a Saudi ally.

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron extended an invitation to Hariri and his family to come to France.

When asked when Hariri will visit France, the French minister said the visit would take place whenever the Lebanese leader “sees it appropriate.”

“France is working to normalise the situation in Lebanon and al-Hariri can come to France whenever he wants.

“Hariri, who I will see later, is invited to France with his family by President Macron,” Drian said on Thursday.

He gave no further details as to when he would travel to France or whether Hariri had accepted the invitation.

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