Lebanon's Hariri makes detour on way home, lands in Cyprus

Lebanon's former PM to meet Egypt's President al-Sisi

Lebanon's Hariri makes detour on way home, lands in Cyprus

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri has arrived back in Beirut for the first time since announcing his resignation in Saudi Arabia more than two weeks ago.

The meeting will focus on the evolution of the situation in Lebanon and the region, followed by a dinner hosted by the Egyptian president in honor of Hariri.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, center, escorted by his bodyguards upon arrival at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut.

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Before the meeting, al-Sisi received a phone call from his Lebanese counterpart Michel Aoun, during which the two sides emphasized "the importance of maintaining Lebanon's stability and the necessity to uphold the Lebanese national interest", according to the official Egyptian news agency.

4 resignation had triggered speculation that he was forced to step down by the Gulf kingdom and was being held there against his will. Hariri left Saudi Arabia on Saturday and visited Paris by invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron, then departed for Cairo on Tuesday.

Mr Hariri caused a political crisis when he quit during a visit to Riyadh. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday for the country's Independence Day celebrations, where he said he will clarify his position.

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Mr Hariri has close ties with Saudi Arabia.

President Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of holding Mr Hariri against his will but both the Saudis and Mr Hariri denied this. El-Sissi returned home from Cyprus on Tuesday afternoon.

Minutes after Hariri landed in Cairo, small groups of supporters took to the streets of central Beirut in noisy convoys, honking, cheering and waving flags with the colours of the premier's Future Movement. But he also renewed his pledge to come to the rescue of Gulf Arab allies and benefactors if their security was directly threatened.

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