Saudi Arabia says Hariri free to leave Riyadh 'when he pleases'

Foreign Minister rejects accusations from Beirut that the kingdom was 'detaining' him
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir . (ALEX BRANDON/AFP/Getty Images)
Thu 16 Nov 2017 03:08 PM

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is free to leave Riyadh "when he pleases," the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday, rejecting accusations from Beirut that the kingdom was "detaining" him.

Hariri, who announced his shock resignation from Saudi Arabia on November 4, is living in the kingdom "of his own free will" and free to leave "when he pleases", Adel al-Jubeir told a press conference in Riyadh.

"These are false allegations. The accusation that Saudi Arabia is detaining a prime minister, and particularly a political figure who is an ally... is untrue," Jubeir said.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had accused Saudi Arabia on Wednesday of detaining Hariri after what he said was his failure to return home for 12 days.

But on Thursday, Aoun said the announcement that Hariri would travel to France for talks with President Emmanuel Macron could be "the start of a solution".

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Last Updated: Thu 16 Nov 2017 02:37 PM GST

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