"The rumors that Hariri is being held in Saudi Arabia against his will are groundless. He stays in Saudi Arabia voluntarily and can leave whenever he wants," Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir has stated at a joint press conference with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, adding that Lebanese President Michel Aoun's statements claiming Hariri was detained by the Saudi authorities are false.
The statement comes after Aoun has accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri and his family, adding that the alleged detention of the former Lebanese prime minister constitutes a breach of human rights.
Most recently, French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Hariri and his family to visit France, with media repors emerging earlier in the day that the ex-prime minister might leave Saudi Arabia for Paris within 48 hours, after which he would return to Beirut to officially step down.
Previously, Hariri, who earlier had met a number of European and US diplomat, has pledged to return to Lebanon, emphasizing that he is "perfectly fine."
Hariri — who served as prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and took the office again in November 2016 — announced his resignation in a video address from Saudi Arabia on November 4, expressing fears that he could be assassinated, like his father, in Lebanon, as well as accusing Tehran and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement of alleged attempts to destabilize the situation in Lebanon as well as across the Middle East, a claim strongly denied by the Islamic Republic as groundless.