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Saudi Arabia, Lebanon in diplomatic tussle over unaccredited ambassadors

Hariri's shock resignation last month from Saudi Arabia threw his coalition government into crisis. [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 December, 2017

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Lebanon's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and his Saudi counterpart are caught in a diplomat tussle over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other's diplomatic.
Lebanon's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and his Saudi counterpart are caught in a diplomat tussle over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other's diplomatic despite both being named months ago.

Hariri's shock resignation on 4 November from Saudi Arabia threw his coalition government and the country into crisis, but he rescinded the move after returning home allowing time for negotiations.

His resignation was widely viewed as being forced by Saudi Arabia, Hariri's backer, bringing its feud with the Iran-backed Hizballah to the tiny country.

Speculation had swirled around the fate of Hariri, who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom, after spending two weeks holed up in Riyad after he resigned. 

A Lebanese diplomat said on Wednesday the issue will be "resolved soon." The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity according to regulations, didn't elaborate.

"Diplomatic procedures will be followed," the diplomat said. "We are committed to positive and good relations with Saudi Arabia."

The issue came up in the Cabinet's last meeting of the year on Tuesday. Government official Pierre Abi Assi told reporters following the meeting that Hariri is "keen on finding the appropriate resolution as soon as possible".

Lebanon's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a member of Hariri's political party, was named to the post in late July but remains unaccredited in Saudi Arabia. The outgoing ambassador remains in the post on acting capacity.

Saudi Arabia named its ambassador in September. Ambassador Walid al-Yaacoubi arrived in Lebanon in November, but still has not been sworn in by the president and the foreign minister, as customary.

There was no immediate comment from Saudi officials.

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