President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi received Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Cairo on March 22, 2017- Press Photo President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi received Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Cairo on March 22, 2017- Press Photo

Hariri to meet with Sisi in Cairo within days

Mon, Nov. 20, 2017
CAIRO – 20 November 2017: "I will head on Tuesday to Egypt to meet with President and friend Abdel Fatah al-Sisi," said Saad al-Hariri in a tweet late on Monday.

Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon's prime minister on November 4, is scheduled to head to Egypt on Tuesday to meet with President Sisi.

Egypt denied late on Sunday that Hariri will visit Cairo on Monday as Reuters reported earlier. “No specific date has been decided yet for Hariri’s visit,” Egypt’s presidency spokesman Bassam Rady said in a phone interview with ONTV.

Sisi is set to fly to Cyprus on Monday to participate in a tripartite summit between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.

"Reports that Hariri would meet the president on Monday are impractical and unrealistic because the president will be in Cyprus on Monday for two days," Rady added.

Hariri has been in Paris since Saturday, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron, and has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday.

Sisi and Macron discussed several topics of mutual interests during a phone call on Saturday evening, according to a statement issued by Egypt’s presidency on Sunday. Both leaders spoke about conditions in the Middle East, brainstorming ways to stabilize and restore peace in the region, the statement read.

Hariri’s resignation sparked a political crisis in Lebanon and put it on the front line of a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Hariri criticized Iran and its ally Hezbollah during his resignation statement and said he feared assassination. Apart from a brief trip to Abu Dhabi, he remained in Saudi Arabia until he flew to France on Saturday.

His stay in the kingdom led to accusations from Lebanese officials and politicians that Saudi Arabia had coerced him to resign, which he and Riyadh denied.

On Friday, Hariri tweeted that his presence there was for "consultations on the future of the situation in Lebanon and its relations with the surrounding Arab region."

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had embarked on a three-day tour to six Arab countries amid Hariri’s resignation’s consequences.

Shoukry started his tour by visiting Jordan on Sunday November 12; then he visited Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia where he concluded his tour on Tuesday November 14.

During his tour, Shoukry stressed on the importance of preserving Arab solidarity in the face of the various challenges encountered by the Arab countries in the region, according to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s statements issued during the tour’s period.

Moreover, on Sunday November 19, the Arab League's foreign ministers held an emergency meeting in Cairo, at the request of Saudi Arabia, to discuss ways to confront Iran and Hezbollah over their role in the region.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who is a member of the Free Patriotic Movement, an ally of Hezbollah, did not attend the Cairo meeting. The country was represented by Antoine Azzam, the permanent representative to the Arab League, instead.

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Abul Gheit has arrived Monday in Beirut where he will meet with President Michel Aoun.
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