Top US diplomat for Middle East heads to Kuwait, Lebanon and Qatar

US Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker talks with a Saudi army officer during a visit at military base in Al-kharj in Saudi Arabia, Sept. 5, 2019. (AFP)

The top US diplomat for the Middle East departed Washington Friday to visit at least three countries in the region, including Kuwait, Qatar and Lebanon.

In Kuwait, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker will discuss Gulf unity, regional security and economic cooperation, a statement from the State Department said.

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In Doha, Schenker will meet senior government officials “to discuss counterterrorism and regional security issues.”

On the last stop, Schenker will be the second senior foreign official in Beirut that week. On Sept. 2, he will meet with civil society representatives and discuss US efforts to help Lebanon cope with the aftermath of the Aug. 4 explosions at the Port of Beirut.

Schenker will also “urge Lebanese leaders to implement reforms that respond to the Lebanese people’s desire for transparency, accountability, and a government free of corruption,” according to the statement.

The day before Schenker is set to arrive, French President Emmanuel Macron will make his second trip to Lebanon in less than a month. Macron will reportedly urge Lebanon’s traditional political parties to allow for an interim government to be formed to implement badly needed economic and corruption reforms. Billions of dollars of soft loans and grants are on the table from the international community to help Lebanon; however, the release of these funds is tied to reforms.

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Last Update: Friday, 28 August 2020 KSA 19:28 - GMT 16:28
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