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Saudi envoy’s visit to Lebanon ‘positive’

1st Mar 2018
Saudi envoy’s visit to Lebanon ‘positive’

By Fouad Shehab

 

BEIRUT (AA): Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday termed the visit of the Saudi Royal Court Adviser, Nizar bin Sulaiman Al-Alula, to Lebanon over the past two days as a “very positive” development.

Berri said the Saudi official offered “very positive words” about Lebanon and its historic and civilized role, according to a statement issued by his office.

Al-Alula visited the capital Beirut on Tuesday and Wednesday during which he met Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Premier Saad Hariri, Leader of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, as well as other senior Lebanese figures.

The visit of the Saudi king’s envoy came after a deterioration in Lebanese-Saudi relations following Hariri’s resignation as prime minister in November 2007 in a televised statement from Riyadh; he later retreated from his decision after his return to Lebanon.

Lebanese officials, including Aoun had accused Riyadh at the time of “detaining” Hariri and forcing him to resign. The president had also described the Saudi action as aggression against Lebanon, which Riyadh denied.

According to talks within Lebanese political circles, Saudi Arabia will support its Lebanese political allies in the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country scheduled on May 6, while some have even said that Al-Alula will reassemble the March 14 alliance loyal to Saudi Arabia to counter the influence of its rival Hezbollah group.

However, sources in the March 14 Alliance told Anadolu Agency that talks about Saudi pressure to bring the alliance’s forces together in the elections and to participate in the election in one unified list is “irrational”, saying that each party has its own electoral calculations, without giving details of those calculations.

 

Photo: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Photographer: Furkan Güldemirhoto/AA]

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