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Saudi Ambassador: We Wish Lebanon Well

Saudi Ambassador: We Wish Lebanon Well

Tuesday, 12 April, 2022 - 09:15
Saudi Ambassador Walid Bukhari during his visit to Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rai on Monday. (NNA)

On his first diplomatic activity following his return to Beirut, Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Bukhari met on Monday with Lebanese religious leaders.

Bukhari met separately with Grand Sunni Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Vice President of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Ali Al-Khatib, Druze Sheikh al-Akl Sami Abi Al-Muna, and Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rai.

Bukhari had arrived in Beirut on Friday, one day after Saudi Arabia announced it would send its ambassador back to Lebanon after a diplomatic spat last year.

A statement by the Saudi foreign ministry said that the Kingdom made the decision after the “calls and appeals of the moderate national political forces in Lebanon.”

The Kingdom also said that Lebanon had agreed to “stop all political, military and security activities affecting” it and other Gulf Arab nations.

Bukhari began his tour by visiting Derian in Dar Al-Fatwa, carrying with him a gift from Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan. The gift consisted of 30,000 copies of the Holy Qur’an to be distributed to mosques and religious centers, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.

NNA said that Derian expressed satisfaction over the revival of Gulf diplomacy in Lebanon, saying the move “bodes well for the country, despite all the circumstances it is going through.”

The Grand Mufti underlined the importance of preserving and maintaining distinguished relations with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, most notably Saudi Arabia.

“We wish Lebanon and the Lebanese well,” Bukhari responded.

He also announced the launch of the annual holy Qur’an award, which is held yearly by the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon during the blessed month of Ramadan, under the patronage of the Mufti of the Republic.

Sheikh Al-Khatib, for his part, hoped that the return of Bukhari to Lebanon would mark the beginning of a new path in consolidating the fraternal relations between the two brotherly countries.

During Bukhari’s visit to the Sheikh Akl of the Druze Community, discussions touched on the latest political developments in Lebanon and the region, a statement by the Saudi Embassy in Beirut read.

In Bkirki, the Maronite Patriarch seized the occasion of the visit to affirm that the Gulf Ambassadors’ return to Lebanon has reaffirmed the Arab brothers’ support for the country, “which is needed more than ever.”

In the evening, Bukhari received Prime Minister Najib Mikati at his Yarzeh residence.

“I have never felt that the Kingdom’s doors are closed in my face or in the face of any Lebanese. I will visit Saudi Arabia during Ramadan,” Mikati said, adding: “We know perfectly well that the Lebanese people receive full care and support from the [Saudi] leadership.”

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