Aoun visit aims to mend ties with Saudi Arabia

Beirut: President Michel Aoun will visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar next week in his capacity as head-of-state. Aoun will aim to normalise ties with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and, equally important, will seek a lift of the current ban on Arab Gulf citizens from travelling to Lebanon.

According to the Al Jumhuriyyah daily, Hezbollah did not object to Aoun’s travel to Saudi Arabia for his first presidential trip, which will also take him to Syria and Iran.

Aoun will head a high-ranking delegation of eight ministers — defence, finance, interior, foreign affairs, education, economy, information and the state minister for presidency affairs — on a two-day trip to Riyadh, from where he will travel on to Doha for another two-day visit.

These stops will be Aoun’s first international journeys since he was elected president on October 31, 2016, after a two and a half years vacancy at the head of the republic.

In Riyadh, Aoun is expected to hold talks with King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and other senior Saudi officials, focusing on bilateral ties.