Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and is expected to meet King Salman and the Kingdom’s Crown Prince. The visit is the first since the diplomatic crisis between the countries that followed Hariri’s surprising resignation in Riyadh last year.
Saad Hariri in 2017 Photo Credit: Kremlin.ru
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri landed Wednesday in Riyadh in his first visit to the Saudi Kingdom since his abrupt, reportedly “forced” resignation in November, which he later rescinded. The visit comes ahead of the upcoming May 2018 general election in Lebanon.
Hariri is expected to meet elderly King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Tuesday. No details concerning the planned agenda were provided.
Reports surrounding Hariri’s stay in Riyadh following his surprise resignation last year have been conflicting and led to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. Several sources told reporters that the Lebanese leader was being held against his will in the capital after being induced to resign by Saudi’s leadership.
Hariri officially denied all allegations that he had been kidnapped and forced to resign. Despite promising that he would be returning to Lebanon in order to make his resignation official, Hariri later withdrew his decision, citing the unstable situation in the country as a reason. “I expect cooperation from all the sides in Lebanon to rebuild the country,” Hariri said upon his return to Beirut.