Lebanon PM in Saudi for 1st visit since strained relations

Lebanon PM in Saudi for 1st visit since strained relations
FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 file photo, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaks during a ceremony to mark the 13th anniversary of the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in Beirut, Lebanon. The office of Lebanon’s Prime Minister says he has received an invitation to visit Saudi Arabia from an envoy of the Gulf monarch. It’s the first such gesture following tension between the two countries in the wake of the now-reversed resignation of Saad Hariri. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has headed to Saudi Arabia in his first visit to the kingdom since his now-reversed resignation from Riyadh late last year in a bizarre sequence of events that deeply strained relations between the two countries.

Hariri arrived in Saudi Arabia early Wednesday, and is expected to meet the king and his powerful crown prince. His visit followed an invite by a Saudi envoy who visited Hariri in Beirut.

Hariri’s visit is likely to boost relations with his Saudi backers.

Relations between Hariri and Saudi rulers took a major hit last year. Hariri reversed his resignation — submitted from the kingdom — upon returning to Beirut, saying he reached a domestic deal to distance Lebanon from regional conflicts. The resignation was widely perceived as Saudi-orchestrated.