President Aoun meets with Saudi representative Bukhari, in Baabda, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. (The Daily Star/SPA, HO)
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The United States and France came out Friday in support of Lebanon and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, saying the premier still had a major role to play in the country.Meanwhile, President Michel Aoun told Saudi Arabia's Charge d'Affaires Walid Bukhari that the manner of Hariri's resignation was "unacceptable," and that the prime minister must return to Lebanon, a statement posted to Aoun's official Twitter account said.Aoun's meeting came almost a week after Hariri announced his resignation in an extraordinary televised statement from Saudi Arabia amid heightening tensions between Riyadh and Beirut over the role of Hezbollah in Lebanon.France's Foreign Ministry meanwhile nuanced comments made earlier by its minister, suggesting instead that Hariri may not be free and urging that he continue to play his rightful role in the country.He also warned Israel against any "miscalculation" of taking advantage of the crisis to attack Lebanon.Meanwhile, at his Riyadh residence Friday, Hariri met separately with Russian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sergei Kozlov, and Italian Ambassador Luca Ferrari, a statement from Hariri's media office said, without providing further details.
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