France’s Macron makes surprise Saudi visit amid Lebanon crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron has paid an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia amid an escalating crisis between the kingdom and Lebanon.

His trip comes days after Lebanese PM Saad Hariri resigned while in Riyadh, saying he feared for his life.

Foes Saudi Arabia and Iran have accused each other of fuelling instability in Lebanon and the wider region.

Mr Macron and Saudi officials also discussed the crisis in Yemen, where Riyadh is leading a war against rebels.

France has historical ties with Lebanon, as its former colonial power before it gained independence during World War Two.

The French president was in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to open the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a spin-off of the famous Paris art museum.

Ahead of his two-hour visit to Riyadh, Mr Macron said all Lebanese officials should live freely, “which means having a very demanding stance on those who could threaten any leader”.

No details of the alleged plot against Mr Hariri have been made publi

Uncertainty surrounds Mr Hariri’s circumstances, amid rumours he was being held in Riyadh.

Mr Macron said on Thursday he had had informal contact with Mr Hariri, without giving details, while France’s foreign minister said France believed Mr Hariri was able to move freely.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Hariri’s resignation has created deep uncertainty in Lebanon

Mr Hariri said in a TV broadcast on Saturday that he was stepping down because of the unspecified threat to his life.

In the video statement, Mr Hariri also attacked Hezbollah, which is politically and militarily powerful in Lebanon, and Iran.

There are fears Lebanon could become embroiled in a wider regional confrontation between major Sunni power Saudi Arabia and Shia-dominated Iran.

Mr Macron is a keen supporter of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which both the Saudis and the Trump administration have heavily criticised.

Before going to Saudi Arabia, Mr Macron said that he had heard “very harsh opinions” on Iran from Saudi Arabia, which did not match his own view. “It is important to speak with everyone,” he added.

But an official communiqué from his office following the visit did not say Iran was among the matters discussed, French newspaper Le Monde reported.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Lebanon have soared since Mr Hariri announced his resignation.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies told their citizens in Lebanon to leave the country immediately. It came after Riyadh accused Iran of “direct military aggression”, saying it supplied a missile which it says was fired by Hezbollah at Riyadh from Yemen on Saturday.

Iran has dismissed the Saudi allegations as “false and dangerous”.


5 replies

    • This conflict among Arab people will never end, it had started since our prophet died. Conflict is Arab tradition!

      Remember the blessing of Allah upon you: When you were enemies to each other, and He brought your hearts together, so that, you became brothers through His blessing. You were at the brink of a pit of Fire, then He saved you from it. This is how Allah makes His signs clear to you, so that you may take the right path. (103)

      Prophet cane to Arab to protect Arab people from killing rach other just brcause different tribe and belief.

      Also Allah explain to Ptophet that Arab people are Hypocrites.

      And among those Arab who are around you there are hypocrites, and among the people of Madinah as well. They are adamant on hypocrisy. You do not know them. We know them. We will chastise them twice, then they shall be driven to a terrible punishment (in the Hereafter). QS 9;101.

      Know you understad Raffiq! Conflict among Arab nations has nothing to do with USA.

      • The now disgraced Dr. Tariq Ramadan said in an Al Jazeera interview: “We are being distabilized because we are distabilizable just as we were colonialized because we were colonializable”. In other words Arabs killing each other does not mean your beloved USA is innocent. Where did they get the weapons from?

  1. @ Raffiq: you should believe in Gods words instead of Tariq Ramadan!

    USA will not sell the arm if no one ask for.
    Arab cannot make the arm, Arab know only export Extremist Islamic ideology that is way Arab leaders ask USA or UK or Rusia to sell arm to them.

    But unfortunately Arab do not know how to use arm wisely, very sad, they use arm to kill his brothers. Has no thing to do with Usa, uk and Rusia,

    Arab people have less of knowledge and less of love.Very pity.

    • WHAT is happening today in Arab countries, especially and even Saudi Arabia, has little to do with extremist Islamic ideas, but more to do with power and greed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.