Lebanese PM Hariri says UAE promised Lebanon financial aid: Report

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Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday Lebanon was promised financial assistance by the United Arab Emirates during his visit there, Lebanese broadcaster al-Jadeed said.

“We were promised financial assistance that will revive the Lebanese economy and we are working on this matter,” Hariri said in comments to reporters.

“The atmosphere is excellent. We have obligations we must accelerate and soon you will hear very excellent news be it in the matter of investment or aid,” he said, according to a headline from al-Jadeed.

Hariri, who led a Lebanese delegation to the Gulf state seeking funds to stem a loss of investor and depositor confidence at home, had hoped on Monday for a cash injection into Lebanon’s central bank.

But on Tuesday broadcaster MTV quoted him saying this option “requires study” and that discussions on the topic included risks to the UAE of such a move.

There have been no further official UAE statements on Hariri’s visit since his meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan on Monday, when the UAE lifted a ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon.

Faced with one of the world’s highest debt burdens, low growth and crumbling infrastructure, Beirut has vowed to implement long-delayed reforms though little has so far been done.

The country, which has a debt-to-GDP ratio around 150 percent, is also seeking to reverse a sharp loss of confidence in the Lebanese pound. Its central bank has been drawing down its foreign exchange reserves to repay the state’s maturing debt.

Hariri held two meetings in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday to “accelerate.”

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