BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hariri meets Sisi during first visit to Cairo in three years

BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri discussed regional developments Wednesday with Egypt’s army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, his first meeting during an official visit to Cairo.

A statement by Hariri’s press office said the meeting with Sisi “focused on the latest developments in the region.” Sisi is expected to run in the presidential polls, likely to be held before the end of April.

Hariri, the leader of the Future Movement, also tackled developments in the region with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby at the regional organization’s headquarters in Cairo.

The two were later joined by members of the delegation accompanying Hariri, Ahmad Ben Helli, the deputy secretary-general of the league, Ali Irfan, the secretary-general’s chief of staff, and others.

Hariri arrived in Egypt late Tuesday for a two-day visit, heading a Future Movement delegation comprising MPs Samir Jisr and Jamal Jarrah, former MPs Bassem Sabaa and Ghattas Khoury, and the former premier’s advisers Radwan al-Sayyed and Nader Hariri.

Elaraby said he was pleased with the meeting, saying it addressed the important upcoming events in Lebanon after rival factions were able to form a new government headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam. The two-month period to elect a new Lebanese president begins on March 25 and parliamentary polls are scheduled for November.

Elaraby said the Arab League stood beside Lebanon’s president, government and people. He praised national consensus, which helped in forming the Cabinet, calling for strengthening it so the country could face upcoming political challenges and meet constitutional deadlines.

Hariri also met Egypt’s former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, who headed the country’s panel which drafted the constitution, and Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II.

He is also expected to meet with top Egyptian officials including interim President Adly Mansour and Foreign Affairs Minister Nabil Fahmy.

Discussions will focus on developments in the region and opportunities to develop bilateral relations between the two countries.

Last month, Hariri praised the referendum for Egypt’s new constitution, describing it as a “great accomplishment” for the Egyptian people.

Hariri, who has lived outside Lebanon for nearly three years for security reasons, last visited Egypt in 2010 when he was prime minister.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 20, 2014, on page 1.

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