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Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai was invited for an official visit to Saudi Arabia Wednesday evening after the kingdom's Charge d'Affaires Walid Bukhari paid a visit to Bkirki.A source close to the seat of the Maronite Church confirmed to The Daily Star that if it takes place, "this will be the first official visit by a Maronite patriarch to the kingdom.The invitation was extended on the same day that Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned from a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.Riyadh halted a $4 billion grant to the Lebanese Army and security forces in 2016 and there has not been a Saudi ambassador in Lebanon for over a year, despite the recent naming of a candidate.Separately, Rai led the monthly Council of Maronite Bishops meeting, which reiterated its compassion for the plight of Syrian refugees but called for the safe return of the displaced to their homeland.
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