France’s foreign minister said today he believed that former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was not under house arrest in Saudi Arabia and did not have any particular constraints on his movements.
“As far as we know, yes. We think he is free of his movements and it’s important he makes his own choices,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio.
France’s ambassador to Saudi met Hariri yesterday before President Emmanuel Macron’s unscheduled visit to Riyadh to meet Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, diplomats said. It was unclear whether Macron had any contact with Hariri during his stopover in the Saudi capital.
Paris has close ties with Lebanon, a former colony, and with Hariri, who has a home in France after spending several years in the country. Macron said in Dubai yesterday there had been informal contacts with Hariri, but no request to transfer him to France.
“Our concern is the stability of Lebanon and that a political solution can be put in place rapidly,” he added.
Two top Lebanese government officials said yesterday that Riyadh was holding Hariri captive and a third told Reuters that the Saudi authorities had ordered Hariri to resign while he was in Riyadh last weekend, and put him under house arrest.