HARIRI: The Emiratis Promised Investments and Financial Assistance to Lebanon
08 Oct 2019
Abu Dhabi - The President of the Council of ministers Saad Hariri said that as he returns to Beirut, all of Lebanon and not just himself has the support of the UAE, which wants Lebanon to be strong and the Lebanese to have a good living standard. He added that the Emiratis promised investments and financial assistance to Lebanon.
In a discussion with reporters before leaving the UAE, where he met with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and headed the Lebanese delegation to the Lebanese-UAE investment forum, Hariri said: “We held meetings today with the UAE side to accelerate the issue of investment in Lebanon, and we explained to them what we plan to do during the next few years, about reforms and other matters related to the budget and electricity. We are also discussing how they can help us financially in these issues. The atmosphere is very positive, and we have to do some things to encourage them to come to Lebanon and invest. I hope that soon we will hear good news regarding investments and support for Lebanon and its economy.”
He added: “We are in the process of negotiation, therefore I ask that we remain in the positive atmosphere, especially that the most difficult step for the Emiratis was to lift the travel ban to Lebanon and they did it, in conjunction with our investment conference. We are negotiating with them the investments they want to make in various sectors in addition to financial investments in some banks or in the Central Bank.”
He continued: “Today we have to follow up on the positive results of this visit, and all possibilities are available. We must focus on what the best investment for the UAE in Lebanon is. A follow-up cell was formed between us and the Emiratis to follow up on what was discussed at the conference and in my meeting with the Crown Prince.”
In response to a question, Hariri said that the UAE support for Lebanon is greater today than ever before. He said: “Our problem in the past was that we asked the country we would be visiting for help, but my approach today is that it is true that we need this help, but the other country can also make money out of this help. For example, the UAE considers that investing in renewable energy is one of their most important investments, and we have about a thousand megawatts that we want to make on the basis of renewable energy, whether solar or aerial, and thus this area could be an Emirati investment in Lebanon.”
In response to another question, Hariri said that the UAE is also very interested in investing in oil and gas, but we as Lebanese should set realistically our expectations from this sector, establish the sovereign fund and take all necessary measures. It is very positive for Lebanon, but we should not expect that it will be the only salvation for the country. We have a lot of things to do, the first is to reform our system in order to spend as much as we need without waste.
Hariri stressed that “Lebanon today needs to lay new foundations for its economy, by creating jobs, reducing spending and integrating institutions in order to reduce costs. To enhance the Lebanese economy, we must invest in CEDRE, and there is the McKinsey plan that provides us with a sustainable economy”.
Regarding his planned visit to Saudi Arabia, Hariri said: “There are 18 agreements that have been completed, and two agreements are still being worked on. I will visit the Kingdom when all agreements are ready.”