The Latest: Aoun hopes France invitation ends Lebanon crisis

The Latest on developments regarding resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Lebanon's President says he hopes the crisis over the surprise resignation of the country's prime minister from Saudi Arabia is "over" now that Saad Hariri accepted an invite to go to France.

President Michel Aoun said Thursday he hoped the French invitation opens the door for a resolution to the crisis that plunged the country into turmoil.

Aoun said: "I wait for President (of the council of ministers) Hariri 's return to decide the next move regarding the government." Aoun had refused to accept Hariri's resignation and accused Riyadh of holding him against his will.

Hariri resigned from Saudi Arabia nearly two weeks ago, citing concerns over the meddling of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in regional affairs. Saudi Arabia is locked in a feud with Iran over regional influence. Both countries support different groups in Lebanon. Hariri's resignation was seen as Riyadh's attempt to challenge Iran's influence in Lebanon.


9:45 a.m.

The French president's office says that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an invitation to come to France after his surprise resignation from Saudi Arabia.

An official in President Emmanuel Macron's office said Thursday that Hariri is expected in France in the coming days. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.

Hariri, citing Iran and Hezbollah's meddling in the region, announced his resignation from Saudi Arabia. He has not returned to Lebanon since, and the Lebanese president has refused to accept his resignation before he returns.

The announcement came as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is in Saudi Arabia where he is meeting with Hariri, the Saudi crown prince and the Saudi king.

Macron on Wednesday invited Hariri and his family to come to France amid allegations that Saudi Arabia is holding him prisoner.