King Salman greets Hariri in Riyadh. (The Daily Star/SPA, HO)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri received a lavish welcome traditionally given to heads of state on his arrival at the Yamama Palace in Riyadh Wednesday to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdel Aziz.Among the Saudi officials present in the meeting were Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir, Saudi envoy Nizar al-Aloula, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid al-Yaacoub and Lebanon's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Fawzi Kabbara.Following the sitdown with the monrach, Hariri and the Saudi officials and minister also held a meeting. Hariri will meet Deputy Crown Prince Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Thursday to discuss items pertaining to Lebanon in greater detail.Crown Prince Mohammad said in an interview published Wednesday that he was unfairly criticized for allegedly pressuring Hariri to resign in November.The meeting with the Saudi king was a clear sign that Hariri is the kingdom's main Sunni ally in Lebanon, while it also sends a signal to the international community that Saudi Arabia still sees Lebanon as a vital partner.Headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani, the meeting was said to be positive.Hariri previously called for ministries to attempt to slash their budgets by at least 20 percent for the new budget.
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