Macron pledges support for Lebanon’s unity, independence in talks on Hariri resignation

Cairo –   French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged his country’s support for Lebanon, its unity and independence.

“In a phone call to Aoun, Macron stressed the commitment of France – the former colonial power, “to support Lebanon, its unity and independence,” the official National News Agency (NNA) reported.

Macron and his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun on Saturday discussed the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which has sent shockwaves across politically fragile Lebanon.

Hariri’s surprise resignation has provoked fears that the country could be sucked into a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and its regional rival, Iran.

Hariri, who holds a Saudi nationality, resigned recently in a televised address aired from Saudi Arabia, saying his life was in danger.

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A Sunni Muslim politician, Hariri accused Shiite Iran and its ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, of destabilising his country and the Arab region.

Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, said on Friday that the circumstances of Hariri’s resignation and his stay in Saudi Arabia need to be clarified, amid claims that Hariri is being held there against his will.

Macron made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, but did not meet Hariri.

However, several Lebanese officials have demanded Hariri’s return home.

In a sign of escalating tensions with Beirut, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have advised their citizens against travelling to Lebanon.

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Report says tourism is a main source of income for Lebanon, which has felt the economic fallout of the civil war in neighbouring Syria. (dpa/NAN)

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