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Active Saudi Comeback to Lebanon | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Al-Sabhan visits Aoun in Baabda/NNA

Beirut – The visit of Saudi State Minister for Arab Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan to Beirut this week has pushed the Lebanese-Saudi relations towards a positive stage particularly with a decision taken from Riyadh to appoint a new ambassador to Lebanon.

Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that during his meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda on Monday, Sabhan informed the president that the Saudi King had ordered the appointment of a new Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, and that the Lebanese government would be informed about the Saudi decision through the diplomatic channels.

Other Arab sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun informed the Saudi minister about his desire that Lebanon’s defense minister visits the Kingdom to discuss military joint cooperation between both countries.

The sources also said Sabhan thanked the Lebanese cabinet for the tight security measures taken to protect Gulf tourists in general, and Saudis in particular.

The Saudi Minister had arrived in Beirut Sunday for talks with senior Lebanese officials on bilateral relations.

After meeting with Aoun, Sabhan confirmed on Monday that his visit to Beirut “comes within the framework of the follow-up on topics that have been agreed upon between President Aoun and the Saudi King.”

For his part, Aoun said that he has given instructions to the ministers to complete discussing all the arrangements related to the common points between both countries.

Following his visit to Baabda’s presidential palace, Sabhan and the accompanying Saudi delegation met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut. The two men discussed the latest domestic and regional developments, in addition to bilateral ties between both countries. Sabhan also met separately with head of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc MP Walid Jumblatt and former Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

The comeback of the warm Saudi-Lebanese relations had started to show through the increase of hotel reservations during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

Sources from the Hotels Association in Lebanon told Asharq Al-Awsat they expected a very promising summer this year.

The sources said Sabhan’s announcement that his country had also decided to increase the Saudi Airlines flights to Lebanon would surely push thousands of Saudis and Gulf nationals to visit Lebanon.