Lebanon’s president in Qatar for talks over Gulf crisis

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Lebanon’s president arrived in Qatar on Monday for the opening ceremony of an Arab soccer tournament and for talks over a diplomatic crisis between Beirut and the oil-rich Gulf nation.

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President Michel Aoun’s face-to-face meetings with Qatar’s emir and other officials come as Lebanon plunges into its economic crisis, one of the worst in its modern history. The country’s financial meltdown, along with several other crises, has pushed more than three quarters of the country’s population of six million into poverty, including one million Syrian refugees.

Aun is expected to discuss the strained relations between Lebanon and the Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia during their meetings in Doha.

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Aun has repeatedly said that Lebanon wants excellent relations with Saudi Arabia, which lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Aun is a political ally of the Shia militant group.

Saudi Arabia, a traditional supporter of Lebanon, withdrew its ambassador from Beirut and asked the Lebanese envoy to leave following televised comments by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi last month. Kordahi said the war in Yemen was pointless and called it an attack by a Saudi-led coalition.

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Yemen’s war began in 2014 with the takeover of Sanaa by Houthi rebels, who control much of the country’s north. The Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year, determined to restore the internationally recognized government and oust the rebels.

Aun told Qatar’s Al-Raya daily that in one-on-one meetings, he would call on the country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, to invest in rebuilding Beirut’s port, destroyed in a major eruption last year. happened.

Qatar has one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves and has been a major investor in Lebanon in the past.

However, many countries have refused to invest in Lebanon or offer aid to their government before implementing major reforms to fight the corruption and mismanagement that fueled the economic downturn in 2019. on Tuesday,

Aun will also attend the opening ceremony of the Arab Cup in which 16 teams will compete.

Aun’s visit comes as hundreds of protesters blocked major roads in Lebanon on Monday to express anger against the country’s political class for the worsening economic crisis and harsh living conditions.

AP

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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