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article imageHariri will be in Lebanon for Independence Day on Wednesday: president

By AFP     Nov 18, 2017 in World

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has not returned to Beirut since his surprise resignation two weeks ago, will be home for Independence Day on Wednesday, the president's office said.

Hariri telephoned President Michel Aoun after arriving in France from Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning, the presidency said in a statement.

"PM Hariri told the president that he would be in Lebanon to take part in Independence Day celebrations, especially the military parade marking the occasion, on Wednesday," it said.

Hariri flew to Paris at the invitation of France's President Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears for Lebanon's fragile democracy.

Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen who has previously enjoyed Riyadh's backing, announced his resignation on November 4 in a televised address from the kingdom.

He said he feared for his life and accused Iran and its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilising the country.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) joins other officials at Independence Day celebrations in Be...
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) joins other officials at Independence Day celebrations in Beirut on November 22, 2016 shortly after his nomination
ANWAR AMRO, AFP/File

The shock announcement sparked fears that Lebanon was being caught up in rising tensions between regional arch rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hariri's failure to return from Saudi Arabia only added to the concerns, prompting claims he was being held hostage.

Aoun has refused to accept Hariri's resignation from abroad, insisting he return home to confirm it or withdraw it.

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