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Lebanon PM in Saudi Arabia for 1st Visit since Strained Relations

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Local Editor

For the first time since his now-reversed resignation from Riyadh opn Nov. 4late last year in a bizarre sequence of events that deeply strained relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday.

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri

The Primer is expected to meet with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. His visit followed an invite by a Saudi envoy who visited Hariri in Beirut.

Hariri's visit is likely to boost relations with his Saudi backers.

The Lebanese PM was received at the airport by Saudi diplomat Nizar al-Aloula, who just capped off a two-day visit to Lebanon where he met with the country's leaders. Lebanon's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Fawzi Kabbara and former Saudi Charge d'Affaires in Lebanon Walid al-Bukhari were also present.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk is reportedly part of Hariri's delegation to the kingdom.

The visit comes ahead of three major donor conferences aimed at supporting Lebanon, and parliamentary elections on May 6. Saudi and Gulf support for the conferences is seen as a critical aspect of their success.

Relations between Hariri and Saudi rulers took a major hit last year. Hariri reversed his resignation - submitted from the kingdom - upon returning to Beirut, saying he reached a domestic deal to distance Lebanon from regional conflicts. The resignation was widely perceived as Saudi-orchestrated.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team