Saudi Arabia in touch with other countries on Lebanon aid: Finance minister

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan speaks during a media conference with Saudi Arabia's central bank governor Ahmed al-Kholifey (unseen), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 23, 2020. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia is in contact with other countries to coordinate any support for Lebanon based on economic reforms, the kingdom’s finance minister said on Sunday.

“The kingdom has been and will remain supportive to Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” Mohammed al-Jadaan told reporters at the end of a meeting of finance officials from the Group of 20 countries.

In a related development, the French Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Saturday that his country is ready to support Lebanon financially - bilaterally or multilaterally - warning against mixing economic recovery in the small Mediterranean state with US-led efforts to counter Iran in the region.

“France always stands ready to help Lebanon. It has always been the case in the past and it will be the case in the future...” Bruno Le Maire told Reuters at the end of a meeting of finance officials from the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

“We know that there are ties between the two issues but we don’t want to mix the issue of economic recovery in Lebanon, which is today the clear emergency, and the question of Iran,” he added.

As Lebanon’s economic crisis deepens, Western and Sunni-led Gulf Arab states that helped in the past have made clear that any support hinges on Beirut implementing long-delayed reforms to address root causes such as state corruption and bad governance.

Le Maire said decisions by Lebanon’s government were urgently needed to improve the situation on the ground.

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Last Update: 15:10 KSA 18:10 - GMT 15:10