Prime Minister Saad Hariri heads a Cabinet session in Beirut, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri left Beirut Friday on his way to Washington for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump and other officials focusing on the Syrian refugee crisis, fresh sanctions against Hezbollah and seeking increased U.S. military assistance to the Lebanese Army in its battle against terrorism, officials said. Hariri is due to start a four-day official visit to Washington Monday during which he will also meet other U.S. officials, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, members of the Congress, as well as senior officials from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, according to a statement released by the premier's media office. According to Lebanese government estimates, there are an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, straining the country's battered economy and weak infrastructure and posing security threats.He added that Hariri was also expected to ask officials to mitigate the adverse effects on the Lebanese economy of new U.S. sanctions being drafted to target the financing of Hezbollah and its affiliates. The accompanying delegation is likely to discuss with U.S. lawmakers the sanctions expected on to be slapped on Hezbollah and its affiliates.
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