Aoun Meets U.N. Head, Arab Leaders as Hariri, Bassil Meet Saudi, Bahrain FMs

Jordan's King Abdullah II (front), Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (C), Lebanese President Michel Aoun (R) and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (back) attend the Arab League summit in the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh on March 29, 2017. Arab leaders are set to meet in Jordan for their annual summit with no expected breakthrough on resolving conflicts or "terrorism" in the region. / AFP PHOTO / Khalil MAZRAAWI

President Michel Aoun on Wednesday held talks on the sidelines of the Arab Summit in Jordan with U.N. chief António Guterres and a number of Arab leaders.

The meeting with Guterres was held in the presence of Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, Lebanon’s National News Agency said.

Aoun had met in the morning with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Center, NNA said.

Later in the day, Aoun held talks with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Talks with Kuwait’s emir tackled “the Lebanese-Kuwaiti bilateral ties and the general situations in the Arab region.”

“During the meeting, the Kuwaiti emir renewed the invitation for Aoun to visit Kuwait, as President Aoun thanked the emir for the renewed invitation and promised to fulfill it after agreeing on its date via the diplomatic channels,” NNA added.

Also on Wednesday, Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir as FM Bassil held talks with his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa.

Hariri later accompanied the Saudi king to Riyadh aboard a royal Saudi plane after the end of summit.

Al-Akhbar daily had reported that Hariri received an official invitation to visit Saudi Arabia.

The developments come after reports said relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have again suffered a setback following statements made by Aoun over Hizbullah’s arms.

Reports claimed earlier this year that Saudi king had canceled a trip to Lebanon allegedly over displeasure concerning Aoun’s statements.

In 2016, Saudi Arabia halted a $3 billion grant for the Lebanese security forces in response to “hostile” stances by Hizbullah and diplomatic positions by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.