Lebanon's Hariri holds talks with Egypt President Sisi in Cairo

Lucy Bush
November 22, 2017

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who had fled from Saudi Arabia to France will arrive in Egypt on Tuesday, reported the local Lebanese media.

After praying at the grave, Hariri retired to his home in central Beirut.

The two leaders will talk about "ideas to stabilize the situation in Lebanon", he said, adding they agreed to meet to "see if we can adopt similar approaches, as much as possible, concerning this threat and the nuclear agreement with Iran".

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A French presidential source said Macron had reiterated that Paris wanted Hariri to return to Lebanon to ensure the country's political system continued to function and that it was imperative it remained "disassociated" from regional crises.

Hariri arrived in France on Saturday at the invitation of Macron, who has been trying to calm tensions and avert another proxy conflict in the region, between Saudi-backed and Iranian-backed camps in Lebanon.

The shock announcement set off speculation that Hariri had been forced to step down by the Gulf kingdom and was being held there against his will. He accused Hezbollah of holding Lebanon hostage and hinted there was a plot against his life.

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Several photos show Hariri and Anastasiades meeting at what looks like Larnaca airport's VIP lounge. It said in its Tuesday edition that French and Egyptian officials discussed Lebanon's future in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on the sidelines of el-Sissi's visit to the European Union member Mediterranean island nation. Hariri was still expected to return to Lebanon overnight, and had himself said he'd be back in Beirut in time for Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.

A message on Hariri's Twitter account said the meeting would be followed by a dinner in his honour. His press office said he was traveling to Beirut.

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. Sisi and Aoun "underscored the importance of preserving Lebanon's stability as well as upholding Lebanon's national interest". More celebrations are planned for Wednesday.

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