11/20/2017, 10.10
LEBANON - FRANCE
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Hariri announces impromptu visit to Cairo and renews his promise of a return to Lebanon

In the next few hours, the former Lebanese premier should leave Paris for Cairo. A meeting with Egyptian President al-Sisi is scheduled. His return to Lebanon scheduled for November 22, for independence celebrations. After speaking with Aoun, he should clarify the future.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tomorrow Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (who has resigned) will leave France where he arrived on November 18 after two weeks under seizure in Saudi Arabia,  to visit Egypt and meet President Abdul Fattah – al Sisi. His absence from Lebanon, which since November 4th, has raised a cloud of speculation about the prime minister's situation. According to critics he was held in Riyadh against his will; accusations that the Saudi leaders (and the same premier) have repeatedly and strongly rejected.

From the latest information Hariri is expected in Beirut on November 22 following his lightening trip to Egypt to attend celebrations linked to the Independence Day. However, there are still strong doubts about his actual presence at the annual anniversary alongside the country's top officials, including the President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker.

Hariri has met with French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the most active in international diplomacy, to try to resolve the new crisis that has hit Lebanon. The premier announced his resignation - blocked by head of state Michel Aoun awaiting his return - from the Saudi capital, claiming he feared for his life.

Over the weekend, after meeting Macron, Prime Minister Hariri promised - for the umpteenth time - to "return to Beirut in the next few days" to clarify the motives for his resignation. "I will take part in the celebrations for independence," he added, "and that is why I will clarify my position on this matter after meeting President Aoun."

The Lebanese Prime Minister's choice of going to Paris is not a casual one, but linked to the established friendship between France and the Hariri family, as well as the diplomatic relations that unite Paris to its former colony. The Prime Minister has clarified that the French government's invitation is not an offer of political exile.

Hariri commented on the trip to Paris and French mediation, hoping it could be "the beginning of the solution." According to some sources, unconfirmed, before returning to Lebanon he may visit some Arab capitals, starting from Egypt.

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