Saad Hariri, Lebanon PM, in France for crisis talks
Lebanese PM Saad Hariri has met France's president in Paris for talks on a crisis sparked by his resignation.
He quit unexpectedly two weeks ago during a visit to Saudi Arabia, but his resignation has not been accepted.
Mr Hariri denied being held in Riyadh against his will, amid speculation the Saudis had forced him to quit as part of a regional power struggle with Iran.
Lebanon's president said on Saturday that Mr Hariri had told him he would be back in the country by Wednesday.
President Michel Aoun said on Twitter that Mr Hariri had told him by telephone that he would return for independence day celebrations.
Mr Hariri arrived at the Elysée Palace at about noon on Saturday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
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What sparked this crisis?
It was during a trip to Saudi Arabia on 4 November that Mr Hariri abruptly announced he was resigning as Lebanon's prime minister.
In a televised announcement, Mr Hariri accused Iran of sowing "discord, devastation and destruction" in the region. He also accused Iran's ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, which is part of a national unity government that Mr Hariri formed last year, of destabilising his nation.
He also said he feared for his life. Several members of Hezbollah are being tried at a UN-backed tribunal at The Hague over the car-bomb assassination of Mr Hariri's ex-PM father, Rafik, in 2005.
President Aoun refused to accept the resignation, accusing the Saudis of holding Mr Hariri against his will. The Saudis and Mr Hariri have denied this.
"To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie," Mr Hariri said in a Twitter post.
Saudi Arabia recalled its envoy to Berlin over comments by Germany's foreign minister suggesting Mr Hariri was being held against his will.
How are the Saudis involved?
Lebanon is a flashpoint in the decades-long struggle between Saudi Arabia – the leading Sunni Muslim power – and largely Shia Muslim Iran for regional influence.
There have been suggestions, denied by Saudi Arabia, that the Saudis had forced Mr Hariri to resign in an attempt to curb the influence of Iran and Hezbollah.
Mr Hariri has close ties with Saudi Arabia. He holds both Lebanese and Saudi citizenship, owns properties in the kingdom, and Riyadh is a key backer of his political party, the Future Movement.
He left two of his children behind in school in Riyadh when he flew to Paris.
Why is Mr Hariri now in Paris?
The Hariri family also have longstanding ties with France, Lebanon's former colonial ruler.
France had offered to mediate in the crisis, inviting Mr Hariri for the talks.
However, President Macron has also had to clarify the invitation, saying France was not offering political exile.
Mr Hariri and his wife arrived overnight from Riyadh on his private jet and were taken to their Paris residence amid tight security, ahead of the meeting with Mr Macron.
President Aoun welcomed the Paris trip, saying he hoped it would be a "start of a solution".
What happens next?
Mr Hariri has previously indicated that he is going to return to Beirut.
That was reinforced by the Twitter statement from President Aoun.
Mr Hariri will be closely watched on Saturday to see whether he confirms this himself.
After meeting Mr Macron, Mr Hariri is expected to visit a number of Arab capitals.
Mr Aoun, whose party has an alliance with Hezbollah, has said that Mr Hariri can only present his resignation in Lebanon and must stay there while a new government is formed.