Hariri Meets Saudi Crown Prince after Strain

Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, held a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday evening, Hariri's media office affirmed Saturday.

Hariri met Saudi King Salman on Wednesday in his first visit to Saudi Arabia since his bizarre resignation announcement in the kingdom sparked a crisis between Beirut and Riyadh.

Hariri posted a selfie with Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom's ambassador to the United States following their meeting in Riyadh late Friday at the end of a three-day visit.

The three appeared in informal clothes and flashed wide smiles, apparently signaling relations have been normalized following last year bizarre sequence of events around Hariri's resignation.

Hariri's resignation, announced while he was in Riyadh, was widely seen as orchestrated by his Saudi backers who complain that the Lebanese government is controlled by the Iran-backed Hizbullah group. Hariri reversed his resignation upon return to Lebanon following international mediation.

His visit comes after a meeting Monday in Beirut with Saudi envoy Nizar al-Alula during which Hariri said he received and accepted an invitation to travel to Riyadh.

Alula also met with President Michel Aoun, who told him of Lebanon's desire to "maintain the best relations" with the oil-rich Gulf state.

Source: Naharnet, Agence France Presse

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