BEIRUT (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hopes to use his first visit to Lebanon this week to step up pressure on Iran and its local ally, Hezbollah. But he could face resistance even...
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president has spoken up in defense of the country's militant Hezbollah group, telling a visiting British official that the group's allegiances in the region do not affect...
Lebanon tells EU it will encourage Syrians to return
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president told EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini on Tuesday that Beirut will continue to work for the return of Syrian refugees to safe areas in their war-torn...
Lebanon’s Hezbollah suspends official over Parliament spat
BEIRUT (AP) — Hezbollah's top commanding body suspended the political activities of a leading legislator because of his spat with rival politicians in Parliament last week, a Lebanese politician...
Arab official: No deal yet on Syria’s return to Arab League
BEIRUT (AP) — The head of the Arab League says there has been no agreement so far for Syria's return to the group.
The league's secretary-general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, made the remarks on Monday in Lebanon, after meeting President Michel Aoun.
Aboul Gheit says an agreement would lead to an Arab foreign ministers' meeting on the subject but "until now, I haven't felt such a development or understanding."
Lebanon’s new Cabinet vows to face economic challenges
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's new Cabinet held its first meeting Saturday and the country's leaders vowed to deal swiftly with the political and economic challenges the country faces, while playing down the militant Hezbollah group's takeover of the health ministry.
Qatar to invest $500 million in Lebanese government bonds
BEIRUT (AP) — Qatar has announced that it will invest $500 million in Lebanese government bonds to support the Mediterranean country's struggling economy.
Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani made the announcement in comments to Qatar's state news agency.
Monday's announcement came a day after Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made a short rare visit to Lebanon where he met President Michel Aoun and took part in an Arab economic summit.
Lebanon uses Arab summit to call for Syrian refugees’ return
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon used an Arab economic summit on Sunday to call for the return of Syrian refugees to safe areas of their war-torn country, where the nearly eight-year civil war is still underway despite a recent series of government victories.
President Michel Aoun told the opening session that Lebanon is overwhelmed by the presence of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, who make up about half the population of the tiny country, which is struggling with an economic crisis.
Beirut summit highlights divisions, turmoil in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — An Arab economic development summit that Lebanon is hosting this weekend has been marred by controversy days before delegates arrive.
Should regional outcast Syria be invited, as demanded by Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah militant group, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad? Should Libya get a seat at the table, despite the unresolved mystery surrounding the disappearance of a Lebanese cleric in Libya four decades ago?
Lebanon: Israel border tunnel operation won’t endanger calm
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president said Tuesday Israel's operation to destroy what it says is a series of cross-border attack tunnels built by the militant Hezbollah group won't endanger the calm along the frontier, adding that his country takes the issue seriously.
Michel Aoun spoke hours before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the border where he said the Israeli military has discovered a third tunnel.
Lebanon’s president vows to confront any Israeli aggression
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president says his country will confront any Israeli aggression, the latest volley in a war of words over Israeli accusations of secret Hezbollah rocket sites near the Beirut airport.
In a tweet Tuesday, Michel Aoun said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's allegations — made during an address to the U.N. General Assembly last week — were "baseless," calling them a "new Israeli threat to Lebanese sovereignty."
FBI chief meets Lebanese leaders, expresses support to army
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon says FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed support to the Lebanese army during a visit to Beirut.
A statement released by the presidential palace in Beirut said President Michel Aoun received Wray on Friday and told him that Lebanon has succeeded in fighting terror groups thanks to U.S. support and that of friendly countries.
Washington has been a major supporter of Lebanon's army, and has provided more than $1 billion in military assistance to Lebanon since 2006.
BEIRUT (AP) — Growing U.S. pressure on Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group, including a new wave of sanctions targeting its top leadership, may hamper the formation of a new government that caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri was overwhelmingly chosen to form on Thursday.
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's first national elections in nine years were marked by a tepid turnout Sunday, reflecting voter frustration over endemic corruption and a stagnant economy.
Politicians had urged citizens to vote, and security forces struggled to maintain order as fights broke out in and around polling stations.
Lebanon says contacts underway to ease tensions with Israel
NAQOURA, Lebanon (AP) — Diplomatic contacts are underway between Beirut and "friendly countries" to ease tensions with Israel over a cement wall it is building along the border which Lebanon says would encroach on its territory, the government said Thursday.
Leaked video causes political storm in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri urged calm Monday after a video emerged showing the foreign minister calling Lebanon's powerful parliament speaker a "thug" in a closed meeting.
The leaked video, which emerged Sunday night, comes amid an escalating dispute between President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri over a decree that promoted a number of Lebanese army officers.
German president: Syria not ready for mass refugees return
BEIRUT (AP) — Germany's president said Monday that it was too early to repatriate Syrian refugees on a large scale and that the international community would have to continue to support the Middle Eastern nations that have hosted millions of them.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking from Lebanon where he met with President Michel Aoun, said "conditions aren't right" in large parts of Syria to ensure the safe return of refugees.
Saudi diplomat approved in Lebanon, ending diplomatic tussle
BEIRUT (AP) — Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon has assumed office after presenting his credentials to the president, ending a diplomatic tussle between the two countries.
Ambassador Walid al-Yaacoubi and his Lebanese counterpart in Saudi Arabia were caught in an apparent dispute over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other's diplomat, though both were named months ago.
Lebanese PM Hariri assures bankers stability comes first
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri assured regional bankers on Thursday that Lebanon's stability was his top concern, one day after walking back his shock resignation that threw his country into turmoil.
Hariri, speaking at the Arab Banking Conference in Beirut, said his government was going to prioritize Lebanon's interests over regional challenges and stressed a return to the country's official policy of "disassociation," or neutrality in regional affairs.
Lebanon’s Hariri returns to Beirut amid resignation saga
BEIRUT (AP) — Saad Hariri returned to Lebanon late Tuesday for the first time since he stunned his country by announcing from Saudi Arabia that he was quitting as prime minister more than two weeks ago.
His resignation, made in an uncomfortable televised statement from Riyadh, set off an international political crisis involving Paris and Washington, who were left without one of their chief partners in a region swirling in conflict.
The Latest: Lebanon PM Hariri prays at father’s grave
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on the crisis following Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's shock resignation while in Saudi Arabia more than two weeks ago (all times local):
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has visited the grave of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. It was Hariri's first stop since returning to Beirut late Tuesday, more than two weeks after shocking the country by announcing his resignation while in Saudi Arabia.
Iran, Lebanon reject Arab League criticism as tensions mount
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Monday rejected a harsh statement by Arab League foreign ministers condemning the Islamic Republic and its proxy Hezbollah, saying the tirade was "full of lies" and the product of Saudi "pressure and propaganda."
Lebanese PM Hariri accepts invitation to France
PARIS (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accepted an invitation to visit France after his surprise resignation from Saudi Arabia nearly two weeks ago that rattled the region, the French president's office said Thursday.
Hariri is expected in France in the coming days and will meet with President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, according to an official in Macron's office, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to talk publicly to the media.
Lebanon: Saudi should clarify why Hariri hasn’t returned
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president called on Saudi Arabia Saturday to clarify the reasons why the country's prime minister has not returned home since his resignation last week, announced from the kingdom, as the United States and France expressed their support for Lebanon's sovereignty and stability amid heightening tensions between Beirut and Saudi Arabia.
The Latest: Lebanon minister says probe ‘libelous’ Saudis
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments surrounding Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri who resigned from Riyadh last week and the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon (all times local):
Lebanon's Justice Minister has asked the country's prosecutor general to launch an investigation against two Saudi citizens who appeared on a TV talk show and branded the Lebanese president and parliament speakers as "terrorists."
Iran’s president accuses Saudis of meddling in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — Iran's President Hassan Rouhani criticized Saudi Arabia on Wednesday over what he called "unprecedented" interference in Lebanese affairs, adding his voice to those who suspect the Gulf kingdom forced Lebanon's prime minister to resign.
Rouhani's remarks followed a phone call to his Lebanese counterpart the previous day, in which the Iranian president pledged support for Lebanon's stability following the resignation of Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Amid intrigue, Saudi king receives Lebanon’s outgoing PM
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's outgoing prime minister who unexpectedly resigned during a trip to Saudi Arabia met with Saudi King Salman on Monday as speculation continued to swirl over his surprising move.
The official Saudi Press Agency carried photos of the two meeting at one of the Riyadh palaces but there was no indication when Saad Hariri would return to Lebanon.
President: Lebanon ‘can no longer cope’ with Syrian refugees
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president says his country "can no longer cope" with the presence of Syrian refugees and appealed to the international community for help to organize their return.
Michel Aoun says the refugees' return to safe areas in Syria will put an end to their suffering and save Lebanon from negative repercussions.
Lebanon’s president says Syrian refugees must return home
PARIS (AP) — The Lebanese president says he wants some 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in his country to henceforth start returning to their homes, voluntarily or not.
President Michel Aoun, in a state visit to France, said Monday that U.N. assistance given to aid Syrian refugees in "camps of misery" in Lebanon would be better used to return them to their country "from now on."
Lebanon holds state funeral for slain soldiers
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon on Friday bid farewell in a state funeral to 10 of its soldiers who were captured and killed by the Islamic State group, amid a national day of mourning in honor of the servicemen.
President Michel Aoun presided over the ceremony held at the Defense Ministry near Beirut, during which the soldiers were awarded Lebanon's highest posthumous medals.
Lebanon’s president adjourns Parliament for 1 month
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese President Michel Aoun says he is invoking his constitutional powers to adjourn the parliament for one month.
Lebanon's deputies were set to vote in Parliament on Thursday to postpone national elections and extend their term for a third time since 2013.
Aoun, addressing the nation from the Presidential Palace, justified the adjournment to give legislators time to craft a new election law and hold elections as quickly as possible.
US general discusses military aid on Lebanon visit
BEIRUT (AP) — The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East has met with top officials in Lebanon to discuss American military aid and other efforts to contain the fallout from the civil war in neighboring Syria.
Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Defense Minister Yaacoub Sarraf upon his arrival in Beirut on Monday.
Palestinian leader: Factions committed to Lebanon’s security
BEIRUT (AP) — Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas began a three-day visit to Beirut on Thursday, saying Palestinian factions are committed to preserving security in refugee camps around Lebanon.
Abbas arrived in the afternoon in the first visit to Lebanon by a president since President Michel Aoun was elected in October. He will meet in the coming days with other top Lebanese officials, including the prime minister and parliament speaker.
France’s Le Pen arrives in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — The far-right French leader Marine Le Pen has arrived in Beirut to meet with the Lebanese head of state and leading Christian figures.
The National Front leader is hoping to burnish her credentials as a defender of Christians in the Middle East, ahead of France's April 23 presidential elections.
Le Pen is a leading candidate in the polls. She is running on an anti-immigrant and anti-European Union platform that critics say is a cover for islamophobia and xenophobia.
Lebanese president in Egypt, day after defending Hezbollah
CAIRO (AP) — Lebanon's newly elected president arrived in Egypt on Monday, a day after defending Hezbollah in remarks to a private Egyptian TV station — comments that underlined his unabated support for the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group.
Michel Aoun's last visit to Egypt was as a military officer, 55 years ago. He was elected in October after a 29-month vacuum in the country's top post.
Lebanon backs returning Syrian refugees to ‘safe zones’
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's president says the international community should facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to Syria by setting up "safe zones" in coordination with their government.
Michel Aoun made his comments Friday during a meeting with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Lebanon is home to some 1.2 million Syrian refugees, equivalent to one fourth of its own population.
France’s presidential hopeful Macron pushes for Syria talks
BEIRUT (AP) — French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron says his country needs a more "balanced" policy toward Syria.
During a visit to Lebanon on Tuesday, the 49-year-old centrist said he wants France to talk to "all parties," including the regime of President Bachar Assad.
Macron met with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut.
Lebanese President: Iran ties won’t impact Saudi relations
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Lebanese President Michel Aoun says his country's ties to Iran are not impeding normal relations with the Arab world, adding Iran's support for Lebanon's Hezbollah might be indefinite.
Aoun's remarks to the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat on Wednesday comes two days after he made his first visit to the oil-rich kingdom, aimed at restoring relations after months of tension, basically over Iran.
Lebanon’s new president visits Saudi Arabia
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Lebanon's newly elected president met Tuesday with the Saudi king during his first visit to the kingdom, a meeting that could melt the ice between the two countries after relations became strained over divisions on Iran and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
The kingdom's state news agency SPA said the 83-year-old Michel Aoun, who arrived on Monday along with eight ministers, was first received by the Riyadh governor, Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud.