Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home
November 21 2017 07:48 PM
Saad Hariri
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Tuesday.

AFP/Cairo

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stopped in Egypt for talks on Tuesday on his way back from France to his country, which is reeling from his surprise resignation amid an escalating regional crisis.
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.
Hariri's visit to Cairo follows two weeks of deep uncertainty after he announced his resignation on November 4 in a speech from Saudi Arabia. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday.
A message on Hariri's Twitter account said he would meet and then dine with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has sought to defuse the tensions between Hariri's sponsors in Saudi Arabia and the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah and its Iranian patrons.
Sisi's office said he received a phone call from Lebanese President Michel Aoun in which they discussed "the importance of preserving Lebanon's stability and elevating Lebanon's national interests." 
Hariri's failure to return to Lebanon since his resignation sparked rumours he was being held in Riyadh against his will, which both he and Saudi officials have denied.
Speaking after talks in Paris on Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also seeking to broker a way out of the crisis, Hariri said he would "make known my position" once back in Beirut.
Hariri's mysterious decision to step down -- which Aoun has refused to accept while he remains abroad -- has raised fears over Lebanon's fragile democracy.
In his resignation speech he accused Iran and Hezbollah of destabilising his country.
Hariri -- whose father, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was killed in a 2005 car bombing blamed on Hezbollah -- took over last year as head of a shaky national unity government which includes the powerful Shia movement. 
A dual Saudi citizen who has previously enjoyed Riyadh's backing, he resigned saying he feared for his life.
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir meanwhile insisted from Madrid on Friday that "unless Hezbollah disarms and becomes a political party, Lebanon will be held hostage by Hezbollah and, by extension, Iran".

Last updated: November 21 2017 08:48 PM


There are no comments.

LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
MORE NEWS

HAPPENING IN DOHAMore