Manama: King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud received Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rai in Riyadh on Tuesday.
The historic meeting in the capital Riyadh covered fraternal relations between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and stressed the significance of all religions and cultures in reinforcing tolerance, shunning violence, extremism and terrorism — and achieving security and peace for all the peoples of the region and the world.
The visit by Patriarch Al Rai followed an invitation from King Salman.
King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud receives Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rai on Tuesday in Riyadh.
Patriarch Rai arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday evening in a historic visit to the kingdom.
The patriarch, who was flown alongside his accompanying delegation, on a private plane, was greeted upon his arrival by Saudi Minister of State for Gulf Affairs, Thamer Al Sabhan, Lebanon's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdel Sattar Eisa, and Saudi and Lebanese dignitaries, reports from both countries said.
Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rai speaks as he visits the Lebanese embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)
Meeting with Hariri
Al Rai also met on Tuesday with Saad Al- Hariri, who announced his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister from Riyadh on November 4, according to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.
Hariri abruptly announced his resignation in a television broadcast, saying he believed there was an assassination plot against him and accusing Saudi Arabia's arch-foe Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.
Patriarch Al Rai is making an historic first visit to Saudi Arabia.
The head of the Maronite Church was scheduled to hold talks with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Al Rai will leave Riyadh on Tuesday evening heading to Rome where he will partake in a number of ecclesiastical meetings, the Lebanese news agency said.
“Relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia are deep-rooted and I thank King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad for their gracious treatment of the Lebanese community. I have always been longing to visit Saudi Arabia,” he said, as he met members of the Lebanese expatriate community at the Lebanese embassy's headquarters in Riyadh a short time after his arrival.
Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rai is greeted as he visits the Lebanese embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Reuters)
“Saudi Arabia has stood with Lebanon at all times. Despite the crises, relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia remain brotherly.
"Saudi Arabia has always been present when Lebanon faced economic and political crises. Lebanon will not disappear as long as Islamic-Christian coexistence lasts.”
— With inputs from Reuters