Lebanon's Hariri Returns to Lebanon to Tackle Political Crisis

Lebanon's former PM to meet Egypt's President al-Sisi
Saudi Arabia a threat to Lebanon:Jack Straw
Author

22 November, 2017

Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanese prime minister on November 4, left Cairo for Lebanon on Tuesday after a brief meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian airport sources said on Tuesday.

"Saad Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday evening from Paris to meet President Sisi, and he is scheduled to return to Lebanon on Wednesday", MENA state news agency said. He is expected to return to Beirut on Wednesday.

According to Al-Akhbar's sources, France insists that PM Hariri remains in office, expressing worries about any governmental vacuum that results from the resignation, "which may lead into a political, security and economic instability". The Shiite militant group is a key member of Hariri's ruling coalition and Lebanon's single most dominant force. Sisi and Aoun "underscored the importance of preserving Lebanon's stability as well as upholding Lebanon's national interest".

Aoun has called Hariri a Saudi hostage and refused to accept his resignation unless he returns to Lebanon.

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A message on Hariri's Twitter account said the meeting would be followed by a dinner in his honour.

Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, is a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia.

"Hariri may be looking for comforting words and inspiration from el-Sissi", said Hilal Khashan, political science professor at the American University of Beirut, who pointed out Egypt's historical role as the patron of Lebanon's Sunnis before Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest shrines, succeeded it in that role.

Tensions spiked between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Houthis fired the missile that was intercepted outside Riyadh.


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