Report: Arab states want Lebanon PM Hariri to mediate between Turkey, Saudi Arabia

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Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s recent visit to Turkey came with an Arab mandate to open the doors of mediation between Ankara and Riyadh, Lebanon’s Al-Jadeed TV channel reported.

Hariri’s unannounced visit to Istanbul and his “private meeting” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week aimed to open the doors of mediation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with Emirati approval, the station said.

Last Friday, Hariri paid an unexpected visit Friday to Turkey. At the time, the Turkish presidency said the two-hour “private” meeting at Erdogan’s Istanbul residence focused on regional security issues and “deepening and strengthening” ties, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Hariri’s office said he and Erdogan also discussed “ways to support the efforts to stop the collapse and rebuild Beirut as soon as a new government is formed in Lebanon”.

READ: Lebanese president Aoun accuses Hariri of lying about gov’t formation

Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been at odds for some years over foreign policy and attitudes toward regional issues. The murder of Saudi columist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018 sharply escalated tensions.

Relations appear recently to have thawed after, with both countries’ leaders pledging to improve bilateral ties. Analysts believe this could be in an effort to appease incoming US President Joe Biden.

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