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...
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...
US voices concern over Hezbollah’s role in Lebanese Cabinet
BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon expressed concerns Tuesday over the militant Hezbollah group's growing role in the new Cabinet, saying it does not contribute to...
Lebanon’s Cabinet wins vote of confidence in parliament
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's parliament gave the new government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri a vote of confidence after days of heated debates and harsh verbal exchanges.
Late Friday, 111 legislators voted in favor while six voted against of the 128-member legislature. Eleven were absent.
A government policy statement focused on improving the country's economic conditions. Hariri began the meetings Tuesday by reading the statement, which calls for reforms in state finances and economy.
Saudi Arabia lifts travel warning to Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon says the kingdom has lifted a 15-month warning that had advised its citizens not to travel to Beirut.
Walid Bukhari made the statement in Beirut on Wednesday following a meeting between Saudi royal court envoy Nizar al-Aloula and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Lebanon’s Parliament begins discussing government’s policy
BEIRUT (AP) — Members of Lebanon's Parliament have begun discussing the new government's policy statement, which focuses on improving the country's economic conditions.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri began the meeting Tuesday by reading the statement, which calls for reforms in state finances, the economy and the crumbling electricity sector, which costs state coffers about $2 billion a year.
At Dubai summit, Pakistan premier warns of ‘painful’ reforms
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday his nation needed "painful" economic reforms to cut back on its massive debt, just after meeting the head of the International Monetary Fund, signaling the former cricketer may be willing to slash government spending for a bailout.
Lebanese PM calls on Italy to increase investment in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's prime minister urged his Italian counterpart on Thursday to have Italian companies invest in his country as it grapples with deepening economic challenges.
"The coming period in Lebanon is a period of work ... with many investment opportunities," Saad Hariri told visiting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Conte is the first foreign official to visit Lebanon after Hariri's government was sworn in last week following a deadlock that last nearly nine months.
Lebanon names 1st female Arab minister in charge of security
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's new interior minister assumed her post Wednesday, becoming her country's and the Arab world's first female official in charge of powerful security agencies.
Raya El Hassan welcomed the challenge, saying Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri put his trust in her and gave her "this big responsibility."
Lebanon factions form government, ending nine-month deadlock
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese political factions agreed Thursday to form a new government, breaking a nine-month deadlock that only deepened the country' economic woes.
Rival political groups had been locked in disagreement over the make-up of a new government since May, after the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years.
Lebanon’s daily Al-Mustaqbal closes its print edition
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's daily Al-Mustaqbal, which is owned by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's family, says it is ceasing its print edition and turning into a digital newspaper.
Lebanon rating downgraded on default risks
BEIRUT (AP) — A report by Moody's Investors Service that downgraded the country's long-term investment ratings reflects the urgent need for quickly forming a new government, implementing reforms and reducing budget deficit, Lebanon's finance minister and experts said Tuesday.
Lebanese minister presses for reforms after Moody’s report
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's finance minister says that the Moody's Investors Service report that downgraded the country's status shows the urgency of forming a new Cabinet and implementing economic reforms.
Ali Hassan Khalil's comments Friday came a day after Moody's changed Lebanon's government issuer ratings outlook from stable to negative and assigned it the rating of B3.
Lebanon’s economy faces stark choice: Reform or collapse
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon marked 75 years of independence with a military parade Thursday in Beirut, but many anxious Lebanese feel they have little to celebrate: the country's corruption-plagued economy is dangerously close to collapse and political bickering over shares in a new Cabinet is threatening to scuttle pledges worth $11 billion by international donors.
Lebanese premier accuses Hezbollah of blocking government
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's prime minister-designate on Tuesday accused Hezbollah of hindering the formation of a new government six months after parliamentary elections were held, a reflection of growing tensions amid serious concerns over the country's faltering economy.
Lebanon’s parliament approves Arms Trade Treaty
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's parliament has ratified the international Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hezbollah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest.
The 2014 treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms and prevent illicit trade. Hezbollah legislator Ali Ammar walked out of the parliament Tuesday, saying it "infringes on the weapons of the resistance."
Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador over criticism
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over its criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom's arrest of women's rights activists — yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh's newly assertive foreign policy.
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's prime minister says he welcomes international efforts to ensure the return of Syrian refugees to their homes and awaits a roadmap being developed by the Russian ministry of defense on the matter.
Saad Hariri says in a statement issued by his office on Tuesday that he hopes the plan, in coordination with the U.S. administration, the United Nations and other relevant parties, will be a serious effort to resolve the refugee crisis.
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has traveled to Moscow to attend the first match of the 2018 World Cup pitting host country Russia against the national team of his longtime backer Saudi Arabia.
Hariri is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, Hariri's office said.
BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group called on the Lebanese state Friday to stand up for citizens being slapped with sanctions by the United States, saying they are harming people.
Speaking in a televised address Friday, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said the new government, which prime minister Saad Hariri was appointed to form a day earlier, cannot "turn its back" on those individuals.
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) — The leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah group declared "mission accomplished" Monday after scoring major gains in parliamentary elections, as the main Western-backed faction headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri lost a third of its seats.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Lebanon's elections (all times local):
Lebanon's interior minister has announced the results of Sunday's parliamentary elections, showing gains by the Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its allies and losses by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's Western-aligned Future Movement.
Nouhad Machnouk announced the results late Monday, saying that they do not include the northern Akkar region, where counting is still underway.
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon is holding its first parliament elections in nine years, with more than 500 candidates vying for 128 seats.
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese is holding its first parliament elections in nine years, with more than 500 candidates vying for 128 seats.
BEIRUT (AP) — Few countries are as vulnerable to the Middle East's mayhem as Lebanon, which has taken in a million refugees from the catastrophic war in neighboring Syria, seen the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia embroiled in that war and watched Saudi Arabia try to oust its prime minister.
PARIS (AP) — International donors pledged $11 billion in loans and grants Friday to help debt-ridden Lebanon at a conference in Paris that also sought to ensure the money is well spent in a country hit hard by the Syrian war next door.
French President Emmanuel Macron praised the international community's "unprecedented mobilization" for Lebanon as crucial for building the conditions for a sustainable peace in the Middle East.
German president discusses support for Lebanon during visit
BEIRUT (AP) — German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut on Tuesday, where they discussed Berlin's participation in upcoming international conferences aimed at shoring up Lebanon's security forces and boosting its economy.
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.
Garbage on the beach: Flood of waste stirs uproar in Lebanon
ZOUQ MOSBEH, Lebanon (AP) — Lebanon's festering trash crisis came crashing ashore this week, after residents woke up to find a powerful winter storm had laid a mantle of waste at a beach just a few minutes' drive north of the capital, Beirut.
The scenes were a national embarrassment for a country that once prided itself on its sparkling Mediterranean coastline but cannot wean itself off the convenience of throwing its trash into the sea.
Qatar exile says he’s held by UAE; Abu Dhabi denies claim
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An exiled Qatari ruling family member once promoted by Saudi Arabia amid its ongoing dispute with Doha appeared in an online video Sunday claiming he's being held against his will in the United Arab Emirates, an allegation denied by Abu Dhabi.
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.
Census shows there are 174,422 Palestinians in Lebanon
BEIRUT (AP) — The first official census of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon has revealed that there are 174,422 Palestinians now living in Lebanon, a figure almost two thirds less than previously estimated.
The Palestinians — both original refugees and their descendants — were believed to number about 450,000 but tens of thousands emigrated from Lebanon in over the past decades, seeking better opportunities.
Saudi, Lebanon diplomats caught in diplomatic tussle
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and his Saudi counterpart are caught in what appears to be a diplomatic tussle over representation, with each country delaying accreditation of the other's diplomat, though both were named months ago.
The delay highlights tension between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon following the bizarre, now-reversed resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh.
Senior EU official visits Lebanon in show of support
BEIRUT (AP) — The European Union's foreign policy chief has met with Lebanese leaders in the first such official visit to the country since it was plunged into crisis following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who has since returned to his post.
Lebanon sets date of parliamentary elections for May 6
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon has set the date for the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years, scheduling the vote for May 6.
The official National News Agency reported on Friday that Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk signed a decree setting the date. For the first time, Lebanese nationals living overseas will be able to cast ballots in early voting.
US announces new assistance to Lebanese military
BEIRUT (AP) — The United States has announced new assistance to the Lebanese military including helicopters and other advanced military equipment.
The new assistance package was disclosed during a visit by the head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel to Lebanon on Wednesday during which he met with the army chief and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Lebanon PM seeks international support at Paris summit
PARIS (AP) — Lebanon's prime minister appealed for support for his country from world powers at a summit convened by France on Friday to bolster Lebanon's institutions as it emerges from a bizarre political crisis.
The Latest: Tillerson confirms Lebanese PM to remain in post
PARIS (AP) — The Latest on the meeting of world diplomats in Paris to rally support for Lebanon and its Prime Minister Saad Hariri (all times local):
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri affirmed in a meeting that he no longer plans to resign.
Lebanese PM Hariri revokes resignation after consensus deal
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri revoked his resignation Tuesday following a consensus deal reached with rival political parties, marking an end to one of the most bizarre interludes in Lebanese politics.
The announcement came at the end of the first Cabinet meeting to be held since Lebanon was thrown into a political crisis following Hariri's stunning move a month ago.
Lebanese PM decries Hezbollah’s involvement in region’s wars
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said in remarks published Thursday that he fears Hezbollah's military role in regional conflicts will end up costing his country dearly.
But Hariri also stressed he was optimistic that a way to end the political paralysis gripping Lebanon following his Nov. 4 resignation is being worked out.
Lebanese actor charged with collaborating with Israel
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon's chief military prosecutor has indicted an actor and writer on charges of collaborating with Israel and possessing drugs.
The prosecutor's statement Thursday came nearly a week after Ziad Itani's arrest. Itani was accused of collaborating with an Israeli female spy to collect information about Lebanese politicians and journalists.
The case has gripped Lebanon at a time of heightened domestic tension over the resignation of the Saudi-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Saudi hawk minister leads campaign against Iran and proxies
BEIRUT (AP) — Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince relies on a small core group of advisers, none more provocative than Thamer al-Sabhan, the fiercely anti-Iran government official whose fingerprints were on the hurried and ultimately unsuccessful resignation of Lebanon's prime minister earlier this month.
As Saudi minister for Gulf affairs, al-Sabhan has a hand in helping shape the kingdom's high-stakes gambles to counter rival Iran.
Lebanese PM threatens to resign over Hezbollah influence
BEIRUT (AP) — Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Monday that he will resign if the Hezbollah militant group refuses to accept a new power-sharing arrangement for Lebanon, speaking as consultations got underway in Beirut between political leaders over the government's future.
Hariri made his threat in an interview with the French broadcaster CNews.
Lebanese Druze leader calls on Iran and Saudi Arabia to talk
BEIRUT (AP) — A leading Lebanese politician is calling on Saudi Arabia to have a dialogue with Iran in order to reduce regional tensions.
Druze leader Walid Jumblatt tweeted Saturday that the modernization of the kingdom led by the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cannot be successful as the war in Yemen continues.
Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran are fighting proxy wars in the Middle East.
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.
The Latest: Hezbollah says Lebanon PM’s remarks ‘promising’
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Lebanon (all times local):
Lebanon's Hezbollah bloc in parliament says Prime Minister Saad Hariri's return to the country and "positive remarks" are "promising," and sends a signal that matters "can return to normal."
The comments Thursday were the first by the group since Hariri returned to Lebanon after nearly a three-week absence.
Bad day for Saudi diplomacy: Lebanese reversal, Syria summit
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi diplomacy is not having a good day — in fact, it's a double whammy — and the kingdom's bullish 32-year-old crown prince is seen as the driving force behind the foreign policy blunders.