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Lebanon PM in Saudi for first visit since diplomatic crisis

February 28, 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) — Lebanon’s prime minister on Wednesday made his first trip to Saudi Arabia since he briefly resigned from office during a visit to Riyadh late last year, part of a bizarre series of events that strained relations between the two countries.

Saad Hariri’s office said he held a meeting with King Salman at the Yamama palace in Riyadh that was also attended by the Saudi interior and foreign ministers.

Hariri is also expected to meet with Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

Hariri’s resignation in November was widely seen as having been orchestrated by his Saudi backers to bring down Lebanon’s government, which includes the Iran-supported Hezbollah.

Hariri later reversed his decision upon returning to Beirut following French mediation. He said he had reached an agreement with Lebanon’s factions to keep the tiny country out of regional conflicts.

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