PARIS – Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri can only prove he is free by returning home from Saudi Arabia where he went to announce his resignation as prime minister, Lebanon’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Hariri’s abrupt resignation on Nov. 4 threw Lebanon into crisis and put it center stage in a power struggle between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Iran, whose ally Hezbollah is powerful in Lebanese politics.
Hariri said on Tuesday he would return to Lebanon within two days.
“We hope to resolve this with the quick and immediate return of Prime Minister Hariri to his country … where he has the right to do what he wants,” Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
“The only thing that proves he is free is that he returns. Right now he is in a situation that is ambiguous and not normal. We want to return to a normal situation,” he told reporters after the talks about how to end the crisis.
France is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and Lebanon’s former colonial power. It is also penholder on Lebanon for potential resolutions. There has been some talk that Beirut could go to the U.N. if Hariri did not return this week.