Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Nov. 4, returned to Beirut on Wednesday for the first time since he resigned from Saudi Arabia.
Hariri’s sudden resignation thrust Lebanon to the forefront of regional tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, whose powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah is part of the government.
Hariri was greeted by members of the security forces as he disembarked from a jet at Beirut airport, live footage of his arrival showed.
Hariri cited fear of assassination and meddling by Iran and Hezbollah in the Arab world in his resignation speech.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept the resignation until Hariri returns to present it in person.
Earlier, Hariri met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, for talks in a brief Cairo stopover before a planned return to Lebanon, Egypt state media said on Tuesday.
Hariri had been in Paris since Saturday when he met French President Emmanuel Macron. He has said he will return to Lebanon by Wednesday for the country’s Independence Day celebrations, where he said he will clarify his position.
His surprise resignation announced from Riyadh triggered a political crisis in Lebanon’s power-sharing government.
Hariri said he quit over interference in Lebanon by Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah militia group.
Hariri arrived at Cairo International Airport, where he was received by Egypt’s health minister, the Lebanese ambassador to Cairo and Egypt’s ambassador to Beirut, his press office said.
He went immediately to the presidential palace, it said. A message on Hariri’s Twitter account said the meeting would be followed by a dinner in his honor.
وصول الرئيس سعد الحريري الى القاهرة حيث سيلتقي رئيس الجمهورية المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي. يلي اللقاء عشاء يولمه الرئيس السيسي على شرفه.— Saad Hariri (@saadhariri) November 21, 2017
"Saad Hariri arrived in Cairo on Tuesday evening from Paris to meet President Sisi, and he is scheduled to return to Lebanon on Wednesday," MENA state news agency said.
Egypt’s presidency said Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, also spoke with Sisi to discuss developments. Sisi and Aoun "underscored the importance of preserving Lebanon’s stability as well as upholding Lebanon’s national interest."