Qatar ready to help Lebanon financially only if new government formed: Minister

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Qatar is prepared to help Lebanon kick-start its struggling economy only if a new government is formed, the Gulf country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Tuesday during a visit to Beirut.

"Qatar in its policy does not provide financial support in cash, but in the form of programs that make a difference in the state's economy and in the interest of the people. This requires a stable government and work on economic programs that serve the people," he said.

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Lebanon is locked in its worst economic crisis in decades and desperately needs international aid, but donors have conditioned financial help on an independent cabinet enacting sweeping reforms.

The country's politicians have failed to agree on a new government since the previous cabinet stepped down after a monster August 4 blast at the Beirut port that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of the city.

Two visits to the country by French President Emmanuel Macron have failed to lift Lebanon out of the impasse has yet to yield results.

"Qatar does not seek to undermine the French initiative, rather it is working to complete international efforts to form a government," the minister said.

Qatar has maintained good ties with all sides of the multi-confessional country's political factions over the years, hosting them in Doha in 2008 to ink a deal after tensions came to a boil in the Mediterranean country.

The agreement followed clashes in May that year between gunmen led by the Shia Hezbollah group and pro-government forces, with the former briefly seizing Sunni areas of west Beirut.

In 2019, gas-rich Qatar pledged to buy $500 million in Lebanese government bonds to help support one of the world’s most indebted countries.

- With agencies

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