Hariri to visit Egypt, expected return to Lebanon on Wednesday

Pauline Gross
November 22, 2017

Referring to this month's sudden resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, Aoun said the "last governmental crisis" had "passed" but it was not a trivial issue. Lebanese officials suggested that Hariri could have been forcibly held in Saudi Arabia, but he dismissed these allegations.

The political crisis drew mediation efforts from France, with President Emmanuel Macron inviting Hariri for talks in Paris on Saturday.

Hezbollah and Iran claimed Hariri was held and forced to resign in Riyadh, which Hariri later denied in a TV interview in Riyadh and following his meeting with Macron in Paris.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has not recognized the resignation of Hariri, echoing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's concerns that the statement could have been made under pressure by the Saudi authorities.

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"I don't think anyone, including Saudi Arabia, is under the illusion that the Lebanese government has any control over Hezbollah's behavior overseas", Itani said, noting that part of the group's popularity in Lebanon's Shia areas stems from its substantial provision of social services neglected by the state. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday for the country's Independence Day celebrations, where he said he will clarify his position.

In his resignation, Mr Hariri criticised Iran and its ally Hezbollah, which is in Lebanon's coalition government.

According to Lebanon's Almustaqbal newspaper, which cites the Lebanese prime minister's press service, Saad Hariri will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi during his upcoming visit to Egypt.

All sides in Beirut have called for his speedy return.

Other reports by GizPress

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