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Lebanon's PM returns to Beirut after abrupt resignation while in Saudi Arabia

22 November 2017

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is visiting Cairo to hold a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to address the crisis in his country after his sudden resignation, according to official sources.

Hariri's arrival in Cairo coincided with the arrival of the Egyptian president from a two-day visit to Cyprus where he attended a tripartite summit with Greece.

Hariri arrived at Cairo International Airport, where he was received by Egypt's health minister, the Lebanese ambassador to Cairo and Egypt's ambassador to Beirut, his press office said.

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"As you know I have resigned and we will talk about this matter in Lebanon", Hariri said. Political power in Lebanon is divided among Christian, Shiite, and Sunni factions, with Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite Tehran backing different groups. He said that he will celebrate Lebanon's Independence Day on Wednesday, adding he would clarify his political position when he returns to Lebanon.

President Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of holding Mr Hariri against his will but both the Saudis and Mr Hariri denied this.

Mr Hariri abruptly announced he was resigning during a trip to Saudi Arabia on 4 November.

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All sides in Beirut have called for his speedy return. 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, a Sunni Muslim, is a long-time ally of Saudi Arabia.

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Lebanon's PM returns to Beirut after abrupt resignation while in Saudi Arabia