Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lebanon's Aoun says ties with Saudi Arabia on the mend after visit

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said his country's ties with Saudi Arabia were recovering, after tensions linked to the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran led Riyadh to cancel $3 billion of military aid to Beirut last year.


Aoun, an ally of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah, visited Saudi Arabia this week, trying to mend relations with the Sunni Muslim monarchy which has traditionally backed Hezbollah's opponents in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia cancelled the military aid in February last year when the Lebanese government failed to join other Arab states in condemning attacks by Iranian demonstrators on Saudi missions in Iran.

It has also warned wealthy Saudi visitors to stay away from Lebanon, depriving the country of vital tourism revenue.

Aoun told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published on Wednesday - a day after he held talks with King Salman - that Saudi tourists would soon return to Lebanon.

Asked if his visit had turned a new page in relations with Saudi Arabia, Aoun said: "Yes. When this transient era clears, we will be certain that it had no roots from the Lebanese people's side."
  [elethos.gr/AFP]
11/1/17
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