Riyadh-Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s second day of visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was busy with scheduled meetings held at the Riyadh Royal palace. Aoun met with a number of Saudi ministers and officials.
Among the most outstanding officials met by Aoun is Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. The meeting with FM Jubeir was also attended by Lebanese FM Gebran Bassil and a number of Lebanese diplomats. Bilateral meetings were held throughout the day, leading up to the most highlighted event, Aoun meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.
All the more, Minister of Culture and Information Adel Altoraifi met with Lebanese Minister of Information Melhem Riashy. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and subjects of common interest.
Also, Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi received at King Saud palace the visiting Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Raed Khoury where they discussed investment opportunities between the two countries, especially in the field of agriculture and the development of food industry.
After meeting his counterpart FM Jubeir made a statement welcoming Lebanese President Aoun who arrived in Riyadh last night.
He said the summit talks between King Salman and Aoun were “constructive and positive.” Bassil said relations with Saudi Arabia “have returned to their normal status and the visit of the president of the Lebanese republic to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have restored all matters to their normal levels.”
“My meeting with the Lebanese minister of foreign affairs and emigrants has come the following fruitful meeting between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Lebanese President Michel Aoun. We will seek to enhance bilateral relations,” Jubeir said.
Aoun met with King Salman and other Saudi leaders sought to repair ties after a falling-out between the two countries last year. The Lebanese President hopes to restore a U.S.$4 billion Saudi arms grant to Lebanon’s security forces as well as normalize ties with the kingdom.
In February of last year, Riyadh cancelled the grant and downgraded ties with Lebanon, blaming the paramilitary armed group Hezbollah’s domination of the country. Arab Gulf States followed Saudi Arabia’s lead by imposing travel bans and endorsing sanctions targeting Hezbollah at the GCC. The moves left Lebanon worried that Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states would take harsher measures against Lebanon.