(The Daily Star/Saudi Press Agency HO)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh Monday, hours after a Saudi minister demanded Hezbollah's expulsion from the Lebanese government.Hariri's office had said the prime minister left for Riyadh earlier Monday on "a working visit".It also came the day Saudi Minister of State for Arab Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan stepped up his anti-Hezbollah rhetoric by calling for the party's two ministers to be expelled from the Lebanese government.Political analysts said Sabhan's comments were bound to present Hariri's 30-member national unity government, which includes representatives of Hezbollah and its allies, with a new challenge as it struggles to maintain its fragile unity. The government is already divided between ministers who call for direct talks with the Syrian government over the refugee crisis and those who staunchly oppose any contact with the regime of President Bashar Assad. For the first time Sunday, Sabhan directly criticized the Lebanese government's "silence" on what he called Hezbollah's "war" against Saudi Arabia. Hariri's surprise visit to Saudi Arabia led to the postponement of a meeting of a ministerial committee charged with implementing a new electoral law.
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