UAE joins Saudi-French initiative to address Lebanon crisis

i24NEWS - Reuters

2 min read
A view shows the impoverished neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in the port city of Tripoli north of Beirut, Lebanon, on December 13, 2021.
Joseph Eid/AFPA view shows the impoverished neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen in the port city of Tripoli north of Beirut, Lebanon, on December 13, 2021.

Le Drian says the fund 'will be helped tomorrow or the day after' with a UAE contribution

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister of France, announced on Tuesday that the United Arab Emirates will contribute to a joint Saudi-French initiative which aims to address the crisis in Lebanon.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Saudi Arabia back in December to meet with the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discuss solutions to the recent dispute between Riyadh and Beirut over a former minister’s comments on the Yemen conflict.

“The visit by President Macron enabled the Gulf to renew ties, which saw (the creation of) a joint Franco-Saudi fund to support the Lebanese,” France’s foreign minister announced during a parliamentary hearing.

The program “will be helped tomorrow or the day after with a contribution from the United Arab Emirates,” Le Drian continued.

The official did not specify how much money will be given to the fund, or how the initiative will function.

Lebanon’s government is paralyzed by political divisions after Hezbollah prevented the country’s cabinet from meeting for months.

The faction is calling for the removal of Judge Tarek Bitar, an official leading a probe into the 2020 Beirut port explosion.

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This standoff leaves the country without cabinet guidance during a difficult economic crisis - Lebanon’s currency, the Lebanese pound, hit a record low overnight on Wednesday, losing 95 percent of its 2019 value.