Lebanese patriarch says Hariri returning home soon

RIYADH: Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros al Rahi said Prime Minister Saad Hariri would return home as soon as possible, Al Arabiya television reported on Tuesday.
Rahi’s remarks came after a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his second day of a first visit to Saudi Arabia. Rai also held talks with Hariri, who abruptly announced his resignation on November 4 from Riyadh.
Earlier, King Salman hosted the head of the Lebanese Maronite church.
Rahi arrived in Riyadh on Monday, in the first trip to the kingdom by a senior Lebanese figure since a crisis sparked by the shock resignation of Hariri, which was announced from the Saudi capital. The patriarch and the king “reviewed fraternal relations between the kingdom and Lebanon and confirmed the importance of the role of different religions and cultures in promoting tolerance, renouncing violence, extremism and terrorism,” the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.
The Maronite patriarch’s visit “stresses the kingdom’s approach for peaceful coexistence, closeness and openness for all sections of Arabic people,” Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al Sabhan said on Twitter.
Rahi also held talks with Hariri, who stepped down during a televised address on November 4 from Riyadh, in which he accused Hezbollah, the powerful movement that is part of his government.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said France was “worried by the situation in Lebanon” and wanted to see the government there “stabilise as quickly as possible”.
He is set to visit Riyadh on Thursday.
France joined Germany on Monday in calling for an end to external interference in Lebanon.
Last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also warned other countries against using Lebanon for “proxy conflicts”, adding he had no indication that Hariri was being held against his will. — Agencies