After Macron meeting, Hariri says will clarify position in Lebanon

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Saad al-Hariri returned to Beirut this evening for the first time since he resigned as Lebanon's prime minister in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia and plunged his country into political crisis.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun has yet to accept Saad Hariri's shock resignation, which has fueled tensions across the Middle East. His failure to return to Lebanon since then had sparked rumors he was being held in Riyadh against his will, which both he and Saudi officials have since denied.

But he left Saudi Arabia for Paris on Saturday by invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, before traveling on to Beirut by way of Egypt and Cyprus.

Hariri's abrupt resignation and continued stay in Saudi Arabia has caused fears for Lebanon's stability.

With the Egyptian president, Hariri discussed the political crisis set off by his resignation - el-Sissi and France's Macron are reportedly trying to mediate a solution that would involve rolling back Hariri's resignation.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri lands at the Beirut airport on Tuesday night
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri lands at the Beirut airport on Tuesday night

The celebrations are traditionally attended by the president, the prime minister and also the parliament speaker - three pillars of Lebanon's political system, with the president traditionally a Maronite Christian, the speaker a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni.

All sides in Beirut have called for his speedy return.

Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, is a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia.

Minutes after Hariri landed in Cairo, small groups of supporters took to the streets of central Beirut in noisy convoys, honking, cheering and waving flags with the colours of the premier's Future Movement. The White House said the leaders agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah's and Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.

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