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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Saad Hariri to meet world powers in Paris on Friday

Top diplomats are expected to gather in the French capital later this week to show support for Lebanon

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has returned to Beirut and said he would be postponing his resignation. AP / Hussein Malla
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has returned to Beirut and said he would be postponing his resignation. AP / Hussein Malla

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will meet ministers from major powers in Paris on Friday to discuss ways of stabilising his country a month after his shock resignation plunged it into political turmoil, diplomats said.

The Arab and European diplomats, cited by Reuters, said Mr Hariri would take part in the meeting of the International Lebanon Support Group, a body that includes the five members of the UN Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Before Mr Hariri sets off, Lebanon's cabinet is set to meet for the first time since the political crisis erupted.

The cabinet's media office said the session would begin at noon on Tuesday at the presidential palace.

The meeting is expected to address Mr Hariri's attempted resignation.

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Read more:

Lebanon will only survive if Hizbollah disarms: Saudi Arabia

Lebanon PM Hariri says resignation on hold pending talks

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Mr Hariri resigned as prime minister in early November while he was in Saudi Arabia, prompting a political crisis in Lebanon and thrusting it back into a regional tussle between Riyadh and Iran.

However, his resignation was never accepted by the president, Michel Aoun.

Mr Hariri has now returned to Beirut and said he would be postponing his resignation, pending talks.

A French official, cited by AP, said that Friday's meeting will be co-chaired by the UN and French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The official said the meeting was aimed at "reiterating the international community's commitment to supporting Lebanon's stability, integrity and security" and encouraging cooperation among rival Lebanese factions.

A guest list was not released, but the meeting comes when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to be in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron has sought to settle tensions in Lebanon after Mr Hariri tried to resign last month.

The Lebanon support group, launched in 2013, also includes the European Union, the Arab League and the UN.

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