Lebanese PM visits Saudi Arabia to boost ties

Beirut: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri went on an official visit to Saudi Arabia and held a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to boost ties, officials said on Saturday.

“During the meeting, the leaders discussed the developments in the region and the bilateral relations between the two countries” the statement said.

Hariri met Saudi King Salman on Wednesday in his first visit to Saudi Arabia since his “bizarre” resignation announcement in the kingdom last year which sparked a crisis between Beirut and Riyadh, Xinhua news agency reported.

Hariri had posted a selfie on Friday on his Twitter page with the Crown Prince and the Saudi Ambassador to the US Khaled bin Salman.

On November 4, Hariri announced that he was stepping down in a televised address from Riyadh, only to rescind it the following month after France intervened.

The shock resignation stirred tensions between Riyadh and Beirut amid suspicions Hariri had been placed under house arrest.

His visit came after a meeting in Beirut with Saudi envoy Nizar al-Alula during which Hariri said he received and accepted an invitation to travel to Riyadh.

Alula also met President Michel Aoun, who told him of Lebanon’s desire to “maintain the best relations” with the oil-rich Gulf state.