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Lebanon's Hariri meets Sisi ahead of Trump visit

Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Sisi [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2017

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Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss security concerns and regional issues.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to meet with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, local media reported.

The Lebanese premier is also scheduled to meet with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayyeb and Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Hariri's visit follows an earlier visit by Lebanese President Michel Aoun in mid-February, his first time in Cairo since he assumed office, where he met with Sisi and Pope Tawadros.

The two presidents discussed shared security concerns, such as the continuing crisis in neighbouring Syria and the conflict in Sinai, but economic matters were high on the agenda.

Though Egypt is not in a position to offer much financial assistance to Lebanon, both economies both rely heavily on tourism and business traffic between the two countries is frequent.

However, in February 2015, Egyptian authorities imposed heightened security measures on men between 18 and 40 years wishing to travel to a number of countries, including Lebanon.

Lebanon needs to find new sources of growth quickly - after growth rates plummeted in 2011 - and Egypt faces a similar problem.

If tourism remains limited, especially from outside the region, other avenues must be explored. Both countries are ramping up oil and gas exploration, attempting to impose reams of legislation reform to make doing business easier and hoping to entice their citizens abroad to bring their money home. 

Hariri's visit also follows a visit by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who met with Sisi in Cairo on Monday to address strained ties, as well as discuss the upcoming Arab League summit set for 29 March 29 in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Abbas, Sisi, and Jordanian King Abdullah II are set to meet with President Donald Trump in April, as the new US administration wades into key regional issues, including the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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