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Lebanon PM invited to visit Saudi Arabia after tension

February 26, 2018

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 file photo, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaks during a ceremony to mark the 13th anniversary of the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon. The office of Lebanon’s Prime Minister says he has received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia from an envoy of the Gulf monarch. It’s the first such gesture following tension between the two countries in the wake of the now-reversed resignation of Saad Hariri. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — The office of Lebanon’s Prime Minister says he has received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia from an envoy of the Gulf monarch.

It’s the first such gesture following tension between the two countries in the wake of the now-reversed resignation of Saad Hariri.

Hariri’s office said the Saudi envoy visited the prime minister at government offices Monday where he extended the invitation. In a statement, Hariri said he will visit the kingdom “as soon as possible” and described the talks with Nizar al-Aloula as “excellent.”

Relations between Hariri and his Saudi backers appeared to have been strained since late last year. Hariri resigned in a televised speech from the Saudi capital Riyadh, only to reverse it when he returned home following intense diplomatic mediation to prevent a political vacuum in Lebanon.

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