Walid al-Yaaqoub, the new Saudi Arabian ambassador to Lebanon arrived Monday in Beirut and was welcomed at the Rafik Hariri International Airport by acting protocol director at the Lebanese Foreign Ministry Assaf Doumit and the ambassadors of Kuwait, the UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, Palestine, Algeria and Sudan, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.
Saudi charge d’affaires Walid al-Bukhari and the Saudi embassy’s staff were also present at the airport reception.
His arrival comes amid high Saudi-Lebanese and Saudi-Iranian tensions.
Yaaqoub left for the embassy without making a statement, amid strict security measures.
According to information obtained by al-Markazia news agency, Yaaqoub had worked as a diplomat at the kingdom’s embassy in Beirut in the past and most recently as an aide to Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan.
Sabhan, who is closely associated with Saudi Crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman has recently been the most vocal Saudi official in attacking Hezbollah and Iran
Due to the tension between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia over Iran and Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon and their interference in the Arab internal affairs Riyadh did not immediately appoint a new ambassador to Lebanon after the departure of its envoy Ali Awadh Asiri in 2016, Saudi charge d’affaires Walid al-Bukhari has been representing the kingdom until now.
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