Qatar pledges $500 million in Lebanon rescue package

Qatar pledges $500 million in Lebanon rescue package
2 min read
07 April, 2018
Qatar has said it will provide Lebanon with $500 million in aid, as countries met in Paris to hammer out a rescue package for the cash-short country.
Hariri urged world powers to invest in Lebanon [AFP]
Qatar has pledged to provide Lebanon with $500 million in concessionary loans, investment and aid, as around 40 nations met in Paris to hammer out a rescue package to help Beirut break financial deadlock.

Qatar's Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Hassan al-Hammadi attended the CEDRE conference in France, where Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri made a case for new investments in the country.

Hammadi said Qatar would continue with its custom of aiding Lebanon, which included rebuilding homes, churches and mosques destroyed following Israel's bombardment of the country in 2006.

"Qatar has a principled and consistent position on the issues of development partnerships in the Arab region. Qatar has always been calling for necessary support to Lebanon and its people," Hammadi said, according to Qatar Tribune.

"Qatar will contribute significantly to support the new Lebanese economic plan, to reiterate its firm position in support of Lebanon so that it can achieve the desired development, and will look positively at the mechanisms and facilities provided."

Beirut has struggled to cope with economic downturn following regional developments and hosting a around a million Syrian refugees who live in abject poverty.

Hariri argued that the stability of Lebanon was an issue for the region at large and that aid and investment would help the country rebuild after decades of instability.

Lebanon's delicate demographic balance is particularly susceptable to regional conflict, including the Syria war which saw a conflict between jihadi groups and the Lebanese military close to the Syrian border.

Hammadi said the conference comes at a critical time and the stability of Lebanon is paramount for the region.

"We are aware of the importance of political and social stability in Lebanon for the stability and security of the whole region... we hope that this important conference will produce the desired results, and that Lebanon receives the support it deserves."

Around $12 billion in low-interest loans, gifts and other investments were pledged at the CEDRE meeting with France also promising around $500 million.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised the international community's "unprecedented mobilisation" atn the meet.

"At a time when the Levant probably lives one of the worst moments of its history... it's more important than ever to preserve the most precious asset: a peaceful, diverse and harmonious Lebanon," Macron added.

In addition to political instability, the country is also crippled by a huge debt which amounts to around 150 percent of the country's GDP.

Last week, Lebanon's parliament approved a budget with a $4.8 billion deficit.