The head of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic community arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday in the first public visit by a Lebanese official since Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his sudden resignation nine days ago.
Cardinal Bechara el-Rai’s visit, the first ever by a Maronite patriarch to the kingdom according to the cardinal, has taken on special significance since Hariri announced his resignation in a surprise statement broadcast from Riyadh on Nov. 4. The prime minister has not returned to Lebanon since.
El-Rai is expected to meet with Hariri, as well as Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad, during his two-day visit.
Hariri’s shock resignation after less than a year as premier mystified Lebanon and led to speculation by some media outlets and politicians that he was forced into it by the Gulf kingdom.
Read full article on The Washington Post, by Bassem Mroue, November 13, 2017.