BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s meetings with Saudi officials were part of the protocol and did not go over Lebanese domestic issues, Saudi media said Friday.
Mikati’s talks with Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Foreign Minister Saud alFaisal tackled “general issues” and were not in-depth talks on specific topics in Lebanese politics.
Mikati was in Riyadh to attend the two-day Arab Economic and Social Development Summit that opened in the Saudi capital Monday. He had not met with any senior Saudi official during his previous visits to the kingdom to attend conferences or perform hajj.
Saudi officials met the Lebanese delegation [to the summit] and not Mikati specifically, Saudi media said. The meetings revolved around general issues and did not address specific topics or concerns.
It was Mikati’s media office rather than Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agencies that distributed pictures of the meetings.
Mikati’s ice-breaking meeting with the Saudi crown prince earlier this week has unleashed speculation as to the motives behind Riyadh’s decision to open up to Mikati, whose ties with the kingdom has been strained since he replaced Future Movement Saad Hariri as premier two years ago.
Mikati Friday addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying Arab people should no longer have to choose between democracy and stability:
“After the Arab Spring, it’s a travesty if people are forced to choose between a democratic government and a stable government.”