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

Frederick Owens
November 22, 2017

Hariri and Sisi agreed on the necessity for Lebanon to be disassociated from any regional issues and the Lebanese outgoing prime minister praised Sisi for his keenness on maintaining Lebanon's stability, according to Hariri's remarks following the meeting.

The political crisis drew mediation efforts from France, with President Emmanuel Macron inviting Hariri for talks in Paris on Saturday. In his initial speech from Riyadh, Hariri, who is Sunni Muslim and holds Saudi citizenship, accused Iran of interfering in his country's affairs and claimed he feared for his life.

Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as Lebanese prime minister on November 4, left Cairo for Lebanon on Tuesday after a brief meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egyptian airport sources said on Tuesday.

His surprise resignation in an announcement from Riyadh has sparked a political crisis in Lebanon as part of a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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Saad Hariri has returned to Lebanon for the first time since his shock resignation as Lebanon's prime minister more than two weeks ago.

Hariri has sought to dispel speculation that Saudi Arabia asked him to resign because he would not confront Hezbollah, the Shiite group that plays a key role in Lebanon's fragile government but whose armed wing is fighting in Syria to support of fellow Iran ally President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to present it in person.

All sides in Beirut have called for his speedy return.

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