Lebanon PM Summoned to Saudi, Asked to ‘Distance Himself’ from President Aoun

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Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s previously unannounced visit to Riyadh on Monday was not a normal visit and the premier was “summoned” to Saudi Arabia to be pressed on Hezbollah and on his ties with President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement, a media report published Tuesday said.

Quoting high-ranking Mustaqbal Movement sources, al-Akhbar newspaper said Hariri “went to Saudi Arabia directly after being summoned.”

“He will certainly face Saudi pressure asking him to lead a confrontation inside the government. It is not known if he can dodge it or if he can convince the (Saudi) officials of the need to preserve the (political) settlement” in Lebanon that led to the election of President Michel Aoun, the sources told al-Akhbar.

The sources noted that the latest flurry of tweets by Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan were “repeated warnings to Hariri to distance himself not only from Hezbollah but also from President Michel Aoun and the FPM.”

Saudi Arabia wants the premier to “draw a line in his relation with the FPM in order to preserve balance inside the executive authority, seeing as there is no clear or firm stance from Hariri on the FPM’s policies and its stances on Hezbollah and (Lebanon’s) foreign policy,” the sources added.

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