Le­banese pa­tri­arch says Hariri re­turn­ing home soon

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

RIYADH: Le­banon’s Ma­ronite Chris­tian Pa­tri­arch Bechara Boutros al Rahi said Prime Min­is­ter Saad Hariri would re­turn home as soon as pos­si­ble, Al Ara­biya tele­vi­sion re­ported on Tues­day.

Rahi’s remarks came af­ter a meet­ing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sal­man on his sec­ond day of a first visit to Saudi Ara­bia. Rai also held talks with Hariri, who abruptly an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion on Novem­ber 4 from Riyadh.

Ear­lier, King Sal­man hosted the head of the Le­banese Ma­ronite church.

Rahi ar­rived in Riyadh on Mon­day, in the first trip to the kingdom by a se­nior Le­banese fig­ure since a cri­sis sparked by the shock res­ig­na­tion of Hariri, which was an­nounced from the Saudi cap­i­tal. The pa­tri­arch and the king “re­viewed fra­ter­nal re­la­tions be­tween the kingdom and Le­banon and con­firmed the im­por­tance of the role of dif­fer­ent re­li­gions and cul­tures in pro­mot­ing tol­er­ance, re­nounc­ing vi­o­lence, ex­trem­ism and ter­ror­ism,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

The Ma­ronite pa­tri­arch’s visit “stresses the kingdom’s ap­proach for peace­ful co­ex­is­tence, close­ness and open­ness for all sec­tions of Ara­bic peo­ple,” Saudi Gulf Af­fairs Min­is­ter Thamer al Sab­han said on Twit­ter.

Rahi also held talks with Hariri, who stepped down dur­ing a tele­vised ad­dress on Novem­ber 4 from Riyadh, in which he ac­cused Hezbol­lah, the pow­er­ful move­ment that is part of his gov­ern­ment.

French For­eign Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian has said France was “wor­ried by the sit­u­a­tion in Le­banon” and wanted to see the gov­ern­ment there “sta­bilise as quickly as pos­si­ble”.

He is set to visit Riyadh Thurs­day.

France joined Ger­many Mon­day in call­ing for an end ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence in Le­banon.

Last week, US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son also warned other coun­tries against us­ing Le­banon for “proxy con­flicts”, adding he had no in­di­ca­tion that Hariri was be­ing held against his will. — Agen­cies on on to


Saudi King Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz al Saud with Le­banese Ma­ronite Pa­tri­arch Bechara Boutros al Rahi in Riyadh on Tues­day. —

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