Lebanon’s Aoun says ties with Saudi Arabia on the mend after visit Riyadh

January 11, 2017
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said his country’s ties with Saudi Arabia were recovering, after tensions linked to the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran led Riyadh to cancel $3 billion of military aid to Beirut last year.
Aoun,  visited Saudi Arabia this week, trying to mend relations with Saudi Arabia.
Aoun told the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published on Wednesday – a day after he held talks with King Salman – that Saudi tourists would soon return to Lebanon.
Asked if his visit had turned a new page in relations with Saudi Arabia, Aoun said: “Yes. When this transient era clears, we will be certain that it had no roots from the Lebanese people’s side.” “It is obvious that ties should be normal, regardless of any differences that may arise, or that may have arisen in the past, in relation to the Syrian file,” he added, referring to the civil war in neighbouring Syria – one of several Middle East conflicts where Tehran and Riyadh back opposing forces.
Asked about the fate of Saudi aid to the Lebanese army, he said: “This issue will be discussed by the defence ministers of the two countries.” Aoun, who was in Qatar on Wednesday on the second leg of his first trip abroad since he was elected in October, said Saudi Arabia has already decided to allow tourists back to Lebanon, and that details were being worked out between experts from both sides.