Lebanon's Hariri makes detour on way home, lands in Cyprus

Lebanon's former PM to meet Egypt's President al-Sisi

The Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, said yesterday he would return to Beirut within a few days to talk to President Michel Aoun.

Mr Hariri said he would return to Lebanon tomorrow for the country's Independence Day celebrations.

He is expected to meet Lebanon's president any time soon to dispel the speculation whether he'll resign officially or return to office.

Hariri's abrupt resignation and continued stay in Saudi Arabia has caused fears for Lebanon's stability.

However, his political status remains shrouded in uncertainty.

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

A Hezbollah fighter stands at a watch tower at Juroud Arsal the Syria Lebanon border
A Hezbollah fighter stands at a watch tower at Juroud Arsal Thomson Reuters

That was evident since the outbreak of the Lebanese crisis over the last week with a surprise visit to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, followed by a flurry of calls, sending his foreign minister to Saudi Arabia and then the invitation to Hariri, which caught many diplomats unawares.

Egypt's presidency said Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, also spoke with Sisi to discuss developments. It said in its Tuesday edition that French and Egyptian officials discussed Lebanon's future in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on the sidelines of el-Sissi's visit to the European Union member Mediterranean island nation.

The Saudi-owned, pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat alluded to French and Egyptian efforts in a front-page report on Tuesday.

Minutes after Hariri landed in Cairo, small groups of supporters took to the streets of central Beirut in noisy convoys, honking, cheering and waving flags with the colours of the premier's Future Movement.

Saad Hariri had unexpectedly resigned as Prime Minister from Saudi Arabia resulting in a political crisis in the region.

Egypt under el-Sissi, a general-turned-president in office since 2014, has forged close ties with the Saudis, who are his country's main Arab financial backer. The White House said the leaders agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah's and Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.




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