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Egypt offers support for Lebanon as Hariri arrives in Cairo

Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri (L) meets with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (R) in Cairo, Egypt on 22 March 2017 [Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu]
Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri (L) meets with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (R) in Cairo, Egypt on 22 March 2017 [Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi today expressed full support for Lebanese Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri in his efforts to resolve a crippling economic and political crisis as he visited Cairo, Reuters reports.

Lebanon is battling an economic meltdown dubbed by the World Bank as one of the deepest depressions in modern history.

The financial crisis, that has propelled more than half of the population into poverty and seen the value of the currency drop by more than 90 per cent in nearly two years, has been deepened by political deadlock.

Hariri has been at loggerheads for months with President Michel Aoun over forming a new government. He is due to meet Aoun at the Baabda presidential palace on his return from Cairo.

Earlier today Aoun said he hoped Hariri would carry "positive indications" to the meeting, and said efforts were still under way to form a cabinet.

READ: Lebanon army launches major crackdown on drug factories

In Egypt, Al-Sisi welcomed Hariri, "reaffirming Egypt's full support for Hariri's political path which aims at restoring stability to Lebanon", and for his attempts to deal with challenges including the formation of a government, a presidency statement said.

Hariri also met Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who stated Egypt's support for Lebanon's "exit from the current situation, and the necessity for all Lebanese parties to prioritise Lebanon's highest interest over any narrow interests", according to tweets from Hariri and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry.

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