Lebanon’s absent prime minister accepted an invitation for an official visit to France from Saudi Arabia, French and Lebanese diplomats said Thursday, nearly two weeks after his abrupt resignation stirred rumors he was being held captive in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with Saad Hariri on Thursday in Riyadh, and said that the prime minister would be traveling to Paris “soon.” It was unclear whether Hariri would take his family.

The announcement added another layer of mystery to the circumstances of Hariri’s shock decision to quit his post earlier this month. His resignation — which he blamed on pressure from Iran and its Lebanese Shiite proxy, Hezbollah — stunned Lebanon and the wider region and raised fears the country would plunge again into factional turmoil.

 

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