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Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Beirut after resignation

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Beirut after resignation

French President Emmanuel Macron and Saad al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister while on a visit to Saudi Arabia, are pictured at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 18, 2017.

Hariri left Paris this morning and visited Egypt where he held talks with President Abdel Fatah Sissi, then visited Cyprus in an unexpected visit and held talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Hariri arrived at Cairo Cairo International Airport at 6:30 pm (local time), where he was greeted by Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Emad Edin, Lebanon Ambassador in Cairo, Antoine Azzam, and Egypt Beirut Ambassador Nazih Naggari. "We want to avoid a proliferation of crises that could get out of control".

Hariri is still expected to return to Lebanon, more than two weeks after his shock resignation from Saudi Arabia.

A dual Saudi-Lebanese national with vast business interests in the kingdom, Hariri told reporters after talks with the Egyptian leader: "Inshallah (God willing), tomorrow's Independence Day in Lebanon will be a feast for all Lebanese".

Fireworks were heard in Beirut as Hariri supporters in mainly Sunni areas celebrated his impending return.

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The celebrations are traditionally attended by the president, the prime minister and also the parliament speaker - three pillars of Lebanon's political system, with the president traditionally a Maronite Christian, the speaker a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni.

The Saudi-owned, pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat alluded to French and Egyptian efforts in a front-page report on Tuesday.

France, which controlled Lebanon between the world wars, has sought to play a key role in defusing tension with Macron personally getting involved and putting him at the heart of a regional power struggle that will test his diplomatic skills. He plans to discuss threats against Israel from Iran and its Lebanese proxy terror group, Hezbollah.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has visited the grave of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

On Saturday, Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader, said Macron should stay out of its affairs.

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