Hariri sought mediation between Iran, S. Arabia, Velayati says

Cars pass next to a poster depicting Former Prime Minister Saad al Hariri in Beirut Lebanon

Cars pass next to a poster depicting Former Prime Minister Saad al Hariri in Beirut Lebanon

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will fly to Paris "in the coming days", a spokeswoman for the French presidency said Wednesday, after days of speculation that he was being held against his will in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia also seeks to create tension in Lebanon but will not succeed there either, he noted. Hariri supported the group and provided it with political cover while it supported Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his forces in the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, but because Hariri has stepped down, the group now fears that they will face strict sanctions from the US government.

"Nothing justifies the failure of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to return for 12 days, therefore we consider him to be held and detained, contrary to the Vienna Convention", Aoun tweeted.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile ratcheted up the rhetoric against Saudi Arabia, his country's main regional rival, saying the kingdom pressured Hariri to resign in a "rare" intervention in another nation's affairs.

France's foreign minister is expected in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to meet with Hariri and Saudi officials.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah, has made the same accusation. Hezbollah has said Saudi Arabia forced Hariri to resign in order to bring down his coalition government, which includes the group.

IDF downs Syrian spy drone over Golan Heights, Israel says
Iran also rejected an Israeli offer of aid following a quake in the historic city of Bam in 2003 which killed 26,000 people. He added: "Our quarrel is only with the tyrannical regime that holds them hostage and threatens our destruction".

Velayati and Hariri met on November 3 in Beirut. Aoun is a Hezbollah ally but is personally close to Hariri.

European nations and the U.S. have not pointed the finger at Saudi authorities directly, but have expressed public concern about Hariri's absence and warned against attempts to interfere in Lebanon's fragile democracy.

The patriarch and the king "reviewed fraternal relations between the kingdom and Lebanon and confirmed the importance of the role of different religions and cultures in promoting tolerance, renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism", the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

Bahaa Hariri, 51, worked in his family's construction and development company, Saudi Oger, in Saudi Arabia.

His statement said the Hariri family has always stood for the principles that make Lebanon unique in the world, including its mosaic of different political backgrounds.

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