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    A picture of Christian politician and FPM founder Michel Aoun is seen on a building prior to presidential elections in Beirut, Lebanon October 30, 2016

    Is Beirut Responding to Riyadh by Reportedly Snubbing New Saudi Ambassador?

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    The move may reportedly be in response to Riyadh’s actions. In November, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation while on a visit in Saudi Arabia. He later returned home and withdrew his resignation. Beirut considers the incident part of Riyadh’s attempts to meddle in Lebanon’s affairs.

    The Lebanese government has been postponing the official reception of the new Saudi ambassador, apparently over Riyadh’s alleged involvement in the incident with the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Kuwaiti daily Al Seyassah reported.

    According to the newspaper, Lebanese President Michel Aoun has not yet scheduled a date to receive Ambassador Walid al-Yaqoub, who arrived in Lebanon nearly a month ago and since then has not been able to start his work.

    Earlier, Riyadh reportedly delayed the reception of the new Lebanese ambassador to Saudi Arabia. According to the newspaper, Lebanon may also be delivering a response to that move.

    On November 4, while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, Hariri announced his resignation in a video address from Riyadh.

    READ MORE: Crisis in Lebanon to End Soon, Hariri to Stay Prime Minister, Says President

    He said that he feared sharing the fate of his late father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. He also accused Iran and the Hezbollah movement of attempting to destabilize the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East, a claim denied by Tehran.

    The Lebanese government and intelligence officials concluded that Hariri was held in Saudi Arabia against his will and was forced to resign. In response, President Aoun said he would not consider Hariri’s resignation until a personal meeting. Hariri returned to Lebanon several weeks later and rescinded his resignation.

    As a result, relations between both countries have become increasingly strained. Beirut considers the affair as an attempt to by Riyadh to influence the balance of power in Lebanon.

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    Tags:
    tensions, Michel Aoun, Saad Hariri, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon
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