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

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.