Hariri meets French FM in Riyadh

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a meeting with Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 16th, 2017. Photograph: Rania Sanjar/AFP/Getty Images
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during a meeting with Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 16th, 2017. Photograph: Rania Sanjar/AFP/Getty Images

Resigned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met the French foreign minister   Jean-Yves Le Drian in Riyadh Thursday.

Le Drian  was the most senior Western official he has met publicly since his shock resignation announcement earlier this month.

The meeting came after  Hariri  accepted an invitation to visit France for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.

Asked when his visit would take place, Hariri replied: “I would rather not answer that right now.”

Hariri resigned a day after he met the adviser to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati at his office in Beirut .

During the meeting Velayati  reportedly  threatened Hariri to   and told him he will meet the fate of his father who was assassinated on February 14th 2005.

5 Hezbollah members were indicted in Hariri’s murder and are being tried in The Hague by the UN backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon STL.

France Worried by Iran’s ‘Hegemonic’ Intentions, Says FM

France is worried over  Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East, Le Drian said Thursday.

At a press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, Le Drian echoed Riyadh’s concerns over Iranian “intervention in regional crises” and “hegemonic” intentions in the region.

“I’m thinking specifically about Iran’s ballistic programme,” Le Drian added.

Le Drian focused on Lebanon and its resigned prime minister Saad Hariri in his comments to reporters, saying the Middle Eastern country should be “protected from foreign interference”.

Hariri, whose sudden resignation on November 4 while in Saudi Arabia sparked a flurry of diplomatic talks.

Lebanon is home to parties allied with both Saudi Arabia and its arch-rival Iran, which backs the Lebanese   militant group Hezbollah.

Lebanese president Michel Aoun who is allied with Hezbollah has accused Saudi Arabia  of “detaining” Hariri and France has been pushing for him to return home.

AFP