Macron hopes for progress on Lebanon during Saudi talks – .

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Macron hopes for progress on Lebanon during Saudi talks – .


DUBAI, December 3 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said he hoped talks he held in Saudi Arabia later today would help ease tensions between the Gulf states and Lebanon.

Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi resigned Friday to help end a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia following comments he made criticizing Saudi Arabia’s role in the war on Yemen, which had prompted Riyadh to ban Lebanese imports.

“We will see at the end of this trip – and I remain cautious – but my wish is both economically and politically, to be able to re-engage all the Gulf countries in the relationship with Lebanon, to help them get out of it, “Macron said in Dubai before heading to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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“I hope that the next few hours will allow us to move forward,” he said, adding that he hoped this would allow Prime Minister Najib Mikati to convene his government and continue stalled economic reform efforts.

Saudi Arabia expelled the envoy from Lebanon, recalled its ambassador from Beirut and banned Lebanese imports after comments from the information minister, which Riyadh said were a symptom of the grip of Hezbollah backed by the Iran over Lebanon.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran have long battled for influence in the region, including in Lebanon, which is grappling with a deep economic crisis and in desperate need of financial support from regional and international donors.

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Reporting by John Irish Editing by Peter Graff

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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