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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Riyadh for hastily scheduled talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amid rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
His visit comes after the shock resignation of Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri who made the announcement in a broadcast from Riyadh on Saturday.
Lebanon - Hariri - House - Arrest - Saudi
Lebanon believes Hariri is held under house arrest in Saudi Arabia and that he was coerced into resigning by the Kingdom as as it seeks to hit back against Iran and its Lebanese Shi'ite ally Hezbollah.
Stunned Lebanese are convinced Saudi Arabia, Hariri's longtime ally, forced him out to effectively wreck the prime minister's delicate compromise government with Hezbollah.
Iran - Saudi - Arabia - Power - Struggle
Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in a power struggle for influence in Lebanon and France has close historical ties to the Middle Eastern country, which was once its colony.
President Macron said he had held informal contacts with Hariri, but there had been no request to transfer him to France.
Macron - Debut - Visit - Middle - East
Macron, on his debut visit to the Middle East, made the surprise announcement at a news conference in Dubai that he would meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
'It was decided to go on this visit to Riyadh to see the Crown Prince, first, it is in order to have a first meeting with him, but also to discuss regional questions, in particular Yemen and Lebanon, he said.
'I - Importance - Stability - Integrity
'I will also emphasize the importance of Lebanese stability and integrity.'
Officials in Lebanon are now reportedly planning to work with foreign states to secure the politician's return to the country in the latest twist in an extraordinary resignation.
'Lebanon - Towards - States - Pressure - Saudi
'Lebanon is heading towards asking foreign and Arab states to put pressure on Saudi to release Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri,' said the official, who declined to be identified because the government had yet to declare the initiative.
The official said...
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