Aoun has refused to accept Hariri's resignation and accused the Saudis of holding him against his will. In his strongest statements yet about the crisis, Aoun said Wednesday there was no reason for the prime minister not to return to Lebanon.
The statements were made in a joint press conference with Le Drian's Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, indicating that France has played a key role in defusing tensions in the Middle East and played a key role mediating Lebanon's latest political crisis. To keep his institutions going, Saad Hariri shopped around the region for loans.
Mr Bassil added that Mr Hariri's resignation had left the people of Lebanon feeling deeply "frustrated" because in their eyes "he is still their prime minister".
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an invitation to go to France after his surprise resignation while in Saudi Arabia nearly two weeks ago, a move that stunned Lebanon and rattled the region.
But Hariri's older brother, breaking his silence, says he supports his brother's decision to step down over the growing demands and actions of Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia is vying with its rival, Iran, for regional influence, with both countries supporting different groups in Lebanon.
A French diplomat said France is using these exchanges to push Saudi interlocutors about not interfering in the affairs of other countries in the region.
Hariri announced his resignation Nov. 4 in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia.
King Salman told Xi that Saudi Arabia was willing to become China's "important partner" in the Gulf.
In Beirut, a top Hariri aide, who had told me about the Qatari loan to Hariri, also noted that Hariri had maintained neutrality.
Since taking office six months ago, Macron, a pro-European who advocates for the "benefits" of globalization, has sought to boost his international stature.
Bahaa Hariri, the son of late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, landed in Washington in his private jet on a beautiful spring day in 2011.
After an unexpected stop in Riyadh to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Friday, Macron discussed Lebanon's crisis Wednesday with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and held a flurry of phone calls this week to set up Hariri's arrival.
Bahaa Hariri, 51, worked in his family's construction and development company, Saudi Oger, in Saudi Arabia. "Therefore, some relied on the UK, the US and foreign powers", he said, adding, "Today, however, everyone has completely witnessed that the presence of foreign powers has brought no benefit to the region".
Jubeir is the highest ranking Saudi official to comment on the situation.
Aoun, a Christian, is a political ally of Hezbollah, the heavily armed Muslim movement that is backed by Iran.
When asked if he was in fact offering Mr Hariri political exile, Mr Macron replied: "No, not at all". Le Drian said he was also concerned over Iranian "intervention in regional crises" and "hegemonic" intentions.
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