Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is free to leave Saudi Arabia “when he pleases”, the kingdom said on Thursday, rejecting accusations from Beirut that he was being held in Riyadh following his shock resignation.
Hariri has been in the Saudi capital since announcing there on November 4 that he was stepping down.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun this week accused Saudi authorities of “detaining” the premier.
Aoun said on Thursday that Hariri's decision to accept an invitation to travel to France could be the “start of a solution” to the crisis sparked by his resignation.
Speculation has swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a dual Saudi citizen.
But Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in Riyadh that Hariri was free to leave “when he pleases”.
Jubeir is the highest ranking Saudi official to comment on the situation.
Aoun has refused to accept the prime minister's resignation from abroad.
“We hope that the crisis is over and Hariri's acceptance of the invitation to go to France is the start of a solution,” Aoun said on the official presidential Twitter account.
“I am awaiting the return of Prime Minister Hariri from Paris for us to decide the next step with regards to the government,” he added.