Maronite patriarch gets red-carpet welcome in Riyadh

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Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi talks with Saudi Minister of State for Arab Gulf Affairs Thamer Al-Sabhan. (SPA)
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Updated 13 November 2017

Maronite patriarch gets red-carpet welcome in Riyadh

BEIRUT/RIYADH: The Lebanese head of the Maronite Catholic church, Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi, arrived to a red-carpet welcome in the Saudi capital on Monday.

Though he described his visit as “the first of its kind,” Al-Rahi said there has been continuous correspondence between the Maronite patriarchate and the Kingdom.

He thanked Walid Bukhari, minister plenipotentiary at the Saudi Foreign Ministry, for helping to prepare for the visit.

“We hope this visit will benefit Lebanon at all levels,” Lebanon’s National News Agency quoted Al-Rahi as saying.

“The Kingdom has long supported Lebanon… Relations between us are based on friendship and brotherhood.”

After meeting with the minister of state for Arab Gulf affairs, Thamer Al-Sabhan, Al-Rahi met with the Lebanese community in Riyadh at his country’s embassy.

Lebanon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Sattar Issa, will hold a dinner in honor of the patriarch and his accompanying delegation.

On Tuesday, Al-Rahi will meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who will hold a lunch in the patriarch’s honor.

Al-Rahi will also meet on Tuesday with Saad Hariri, who resigned as Lebanon’s prime minister last week, before leaving Riyadh for Rome to attend ecclesiastical meetings.

The Maronite sect is Lebanon’s largest Christian community and the Middle East’s largest Catholic church.

The patriarchate’s media spokesman Walid Ghayyad told Arab News that the visit is “historic and exceptional.”

Al-Rahi had planned his visit before Hariri announced his resignation in Riyadh on Nov. 4. Ghayyad said Al-Rahi will ask Hariri why he resigned, and will inform Lebanese President Michel Aoun about the outcome of their talks.

“The patriarch represents all the patriarchs and Christians of the East. He is carrying a message of love and openness to Saudi Arabia, which is now witnessing further openness and positive changes,” said Ghayyad, who is accompanying Al-Rahi.

“We thank the Kingdom for inviting the patriarch on this momentous visit, especially since it complements… historical relations between the two countries.”


Saudi ambassador joins high-level UN talks

Updated 17 min 59 sec ago

Saudi ambassador joins high-level UN talks

  • The meeting focused on political challenges facing Islamic countries

UNITED NATIONS: Political challenges facing Arab countries took center stage at a series of meetings attended by Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Abdullah bin Yahya Al-Muallami.
A meeting of the UN Arab Group chaired by Algeria’s Permanent Representative, Sofiane Mimouni, focused on issues of common concern, including Palestine.
Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s foreign minister, briefed the meeting on the country’s candidacy for the UN Security Council nonpermanent seat for 2021-2022.
Al-Muallami also joined a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, chaired by Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Adela Raz.
The meeting focused on political challenges facing Islamic countries.
In a meeting with High Representative of the UN Alliance of Civilizations Miguel Moratinos, Al-Muallami discussed the alliance’s efforts to spread the message of peace, and promote a culture of dialogue, cooperation and coexistence while rejecting hate speech, racism and intolerance.