Hariri receives Bukhari and thanks Saudi Arabia for Hajj visas

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri welcomed on Friday at the Center House the Saudi Minister Plenipotentiary Charge d'Affaires Walid Bukhari, with whom he discussed most recent developments and the bilateral relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, Premier Hariri thanked once again, in his name and in the name of the Lebanese, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for responding generously to the demands of thousands of Lebanese who wanted to perform the Hajj pilgrimage this year, stressing the depth of historical ties between Lebanon and the Kingdom.

After the meeting, Bukhari said: "The meeting with the Prime Minister was excellent. We informed him about the process of granting Hajj visas and he praised it. His Excellency thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its efforts in serving the pilgrims. We discussed the extension of flights until tomorrow. All this serves the Lebanese pilgrims. We also talked about the plan of action to develop and improve the consular services provided to the pilgrims for next year by holding awareness programs for 130 offices offering Hajj services and clarifying the path of the electronic portal which provides services in full transparency to the first beneficiary.

The Prime Minister thanked the Kingdom and the Embassy in Lebanon for the efforts and we congratulated him on the success of the plan for the year 1439 AH."

In reply to a question whether they tackled internal issues, Bukhari said, "We discussed the situation of the pilgrims and Prime Minister Saad Hariri wants to provide all facilities to them. The Embassy completed five thousand visas within 49 working hours, through an integrated team that managed to achieve this very quickly. Prime Minister Hariri expressed his appreciation."

Asked whether the relationship with Hariri is excellent, Bukhari said, " Certainly, and I call on all media not to believe some rumors that serve irresponsible interests. The best is to read the statement of the Press office of Prime Minister Hariri, in which he fully explained all points."

Later on, Hariri met with the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Middle East Airlines Mohammed Hout who briefed him on the measures taken by the company to facilitate the transport of Lebanese pilgrims to the Hajj.

After the meeting, Hout said, "Saudi Arabia granted in the last days 5000 additional visas to the Lebanese pilgrims, so the total reached 20,000 pilgrims this year, including 15,000 Lebanese and five thousand Syrians and Palestinians. We thank the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for all the facilities given to the Lebanese pilgrims upon the request and intervention of Prime Minister Hariri and for allowing the exceptional extension of the Middle East flights to ensure the transfer of all pilgrims."

Hout added, "I informed the PM of the movement at the Rafic Hariri International Airport and the measures taken to ensure the transfer of pilgrims. I listened to his directives in this regard and thanked him for the support he provides to the company and his interest in everything it does.

Source: National News Agency