Lebanon's Absent Prime Minister Saad Hariri Says He'll Return Home

Lebanon's Absent Prime Minister Saad Hariri Says He'll Return Home
Hariri was in Saudi Arabia for two weeks, leading to speculation he wasn't allowed to leave.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said he'll soon return home. A trip to France ended his weekslong stay in Saudi Arabia that led to speculation he was being held against his will.

Hariri denied that suggestion in a Twitter post

While in Paris, Hariri met with French President Emmanuel Macron and said he would be back in Beirut in a few days, in time for Lebanon's Independence Day celebrations.

Earlier this month, Hariri traveled to the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, where he gave a televised announcement he was stepping down as prime minister. He claimed he feared for his life and that Iran was interfering in other Arab states' affairs — with the help of Hezbollah. 

Currently, Hariri's party, the Future Movement, shares power with Hezbollah, a Shiite political party with a paramilitary wing. Several countries consider it a terrorist organization. 

Lebanon's president said he would wait for Hariri to return before moving ahead with finding a replacement. Lebanon's constitution requires a Sunni Muslim hold the office of prime minister.

Saudi Arabia is a heavy backer of Hariri; his unorthodox stay in Saudi Arabia and out-of-character phrasing in his televised resignation led many to believe he was being coerced by Saudi leaders.