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December 17, 2017

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Lebanon’s prime minister says he is returning to his country, confirms he is resigning amid political tensions

PARIS (AP) — Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri says he is returning to his country, confirms he is resigning amid political tensions.

Hariri says he will return to Lebanon in the coming days to take part in Independence Day celebrations adding that he will make his political stance clear upon his arrival.

Hariri spoke to reporters in Paris Saturday after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron during which he thanked France for the "positive political role" it is playing in the Middle East.

Hariri was joined for lunch at the Elysee Palace by his wife and older son along with Macron and his wife.

Hariri made a short statement in French and similar one in Arabic in which he said: "As you know I have resigned and we will speak about this matter there (Lebanon)."

Hariri's resignation first was made in a broadcast from Saudi Arabia on Nov. 4 and has thrown Lebanon into a serious political crisis. Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to accept it, accusing the Saudis of holding him against his will.