Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri arrives in Moscow to meet Putin and a number of Russian officials

MOSCOW — Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri arrived in Russia late Wednesday and was given an official reception at Moscow International Airport where he was greeted by President Putin’s special representative in the Middle East and North Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and Lebanese Ambassador to Russia Shawki Abu Nassar.

During the visit, Hariri is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and other high-level officials.

According to Anba newspaper, the visit was prepared more than a month ago and will cover Iran’s influence in Lebanon and the need for Russia to pressure Hezbollah to facilitate the formation of a government that can persuade Lebanese President Michel Aoun and MP Gibran Bassil to abandon their conditions and agree to an independent government capable of implementing reforms.

Lebanon has experienced extremely difficult economic conditions and political paralysis following the disruption of the formation of Hariri’s government. Hariri and Aoun have pointed fingers at one another over the failure to form a government since October of last year.