Hariri returns to Lebanon

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Hariri with President Macron in Paris at the weekend

Lebanon’s runaway prime minister, Saad al-Hariri has returned to his country, fulfilling his promise during a visit to Paris last week to return home ahead of the national celebrations on Wednesday.

His plane landed in Beirut on Tuesday, his media office said.

His shock resignation from Saudi Arabia, believed to have been Saudi-instigated plunged his country into political crisis. And President Michel Aoun rejected the resignation, with Hezbollah also claiming that Hariri was being held hostage by Saudi Arabia.

Hariri’s sudden resignation on Nov. 4 thrust Lebanon to the forefront of a regional power struggle between the Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite Islamist Iran, whose powerful ally Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government.

After visiting Paris, Hariri on Tuesday he travelled to Cairo to see Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom he thanked for his support for Lebanon.

Hours later, Hariri flew from the Egyptian capital Cairo to Larnaca in Cyprus where he met late at night with President Nicos Anastasiades, the Cyprus government spokesman said.

After a brief visit he flew on to Beirut, where he is expected to take part in the independence day military parade early Wednesday and the customary reception at the presidential palace.

Hariri’s Future Movement called on supporters to gather at his home in downtown Beirut at 1:00 pm local time (1100 GMT).

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