Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri is on a state visit to Saudi Arabia the first time after his sudden resignation which was later rescinded. The Prime Minister will meet Saudi King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Lebanon has its scheduled Parliamentary elections in May which makes this visit even more significant as Hariri also has a Saudi citizenship and Saudi Arabia has always been a prime donor to the conferences which are aimed at supporting Lebanon along with other Gulf nations.

Hariri had travelled to Saudi Arabia in November 2017 from where he had announced his resignation as a Prime Minister of Lebanon from his home in Riyadh. This had given way to a public outrage in Lebanon as it was seen as an abduction of their PM by Saudi. President Michel Aoun of Lebanon had refused to accept the resignation and had appealed to the Riyadh authorities to release their PM.

Hariri has always been critical of Iran and Hezbollah for destabilizing the nation and thus stayed on in Riyadh till France had intervened to defuse the crisis. This incident strained the relations between the two nations. The resignation was believed to made under coercion by Saudis and claimed that Saudis kept him hostage to create a pretext for waging war against Hezbollah.

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