Hariri Back in Beirut before First Official US Visit

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri returned to Beirut Thursday after meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, in the lead up to the Lebanese premier’s first official Washington DC visit.

Hariri Back in Beirut before First Official US Visit

“The two discussed bilateral relations, in addition to personal relations,” a spokesperson from Hariri’s press office told The Daily Star.

The discussion also focused on Hariri’s first official US visit, which is believed to be set for the end of the week.

“The Prime Minister will tackle the swelling Syrian refugee crisis, US sanctions against Hezbollah and their grave impact on the Lebanese economy, as well as possible US support to the Lebanese Army in its fight against terrorism,” Future Parliamentary bloc MP Ammar Houri said of Hariri’s agenda in Washington.

A number of members of the US House of Representatives have prepared a draft bill entitled “Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2017", which aims to cut off all forms of financial support to the resistance movement.

The new draft, which has not yet been introduced in the House, has reportedly added additional entities, such as the Amal Movement, to the list of already sanctioned parties.

A similar draft is said to be making the rounds in the Senate.

“The (implementation) of the bill will be harsh on Lebanon,” Prime Minister Saad Hariri said at a recent press conference, adding that Beirut would work with Washington to “change (the bill).”

Lebanon has been engaged in a war against terrorists along the Syria border. Hezbollah’s Secretary General Seyed Hassan Nasrallah’s most recent speech signaled the imminent launch of a wide-ranging offensive to dislodge militant groups holed up around the north-eastern town of Arsal.

Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf Arab states in 2016 branded Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” after its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

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