Lebanon’s Hariri arrives in Paris, set to hold talks with France’s Macron

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Above, police stand guard in front of a building in Paris where Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is set to meet French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
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The convoy of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri departs Le Bourget airport in Paris early November 18. (AFP)
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The convoy of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrives in Paris early November 18. (AFP)
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Updated 18 November 2017
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Lebanon’s Hariri arrives in Paris, set to hold talks with France’s Macron

PARIS: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France Saturday from Saudi Arabia, where his resignation announcement two weeks ago sparked accusations that he was being held there against his will.
Hariri is in Paris at the invitation of France's President Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon's fragile democracy.
Hariri and his wife Lara, who landed at Le Bourget airport outside the French capital at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) after flying in from Riyadh overnight, were due to meet Macron at noon.
The couple were whisked to their Paris residence in a seven-car convoy under tight security.
Hariri, a dual Saudi citizen, has been in the Saudi capital since his televised announcement there on November 4 that he was stepping down because he feared for his life, accusing Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of destabilizing his country.
Shortly before leaving Riyadh for Paris, Hariri said in a tweet addressed to German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel that it was untrue he was being held in Saudi.
“To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie. I am on the way to the airport,” Hariri tweeted.


Saudi Foreign Ministry Adel Al-Jubeir said on Thursday, “accusing Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri is completely baseless. It doesn’t hold merit as Hariri is free to go anywhere he wants,” adding that Hariri has some concerns about the security situation in Lebanon.
The Saudi foreign minister said Hezbollah is disturbing regional peace and stability by supporting Houthi militias in Yemen, suppressing the will of the Syrian people and violating Lebanese law. Hezbollah must learn to “respect Lebanon’s sovereignty,” he added.


Syria’s Assad attends holiday prayers at Damascus mosque

Updated 34 min 40 sec ago
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Syria’s Assad attends holiday prayers at Damascus mosque

  • Syrian President Bashar Assad attends prayers for Eid Al-Adha in Damascus
  • It’s the first Eid Al-Adha since Syrian troops, backed by Russia, recaptured suburbs of Damascus

DAMASCUS, Syria: Syrian President Bashar Assad has attended prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha in Damascus, the seat of his power.
State-run television showed Assad saluting worshippers as he arrived Tuesday at the Al-Rawda mosque and various footage of him praying and talking to people following prayers.
It’s the first Eid Al-Adha since Syrian troops, backed by Russia, recaptured suburbs of Damascus earlier this year and areas in southern Syria previously held by rebels.
In recent years, Assad has often traveled outside Damascus to towns and villages recaptured from rebels or Islamic State fighters to attend holiday prayers there.
With crucial military support from allies Russia and Iran, Assad’s troops have recaptured most rebel strongholds across the country. The northern province of Idlib is the last major remaining opposition bastion.