Hariri Meets Qatar Leaders in Doha, Urges Support on Refugees

By Naharnet Newsdesk 14 May 2017, 11:12




Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks Sunday in Doha with Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
The meeting was held ahead of the opening of the “Doha Forum” and talks tackled the developments in Lebanon and the region and the bilateral relations, Hariri's office said.

Addressing the Doha Forum later in the day, Hariri said:“The most important thing that our Arab region needs today is stability. There will be no security, development or prosperity without stability”.

“The extremist groups are fully aware of this and are trying to destabilize the whole world. They have become a danger that should be confronted through the cooperation of all countries, societies, religions and cultures”, Hariri added.
The premier cautioned that the economic development of Lebanon is “facing a special difficulty represented by the presence of one and a half million displaced Syrians and half a million Palestinian refugee on its soil”.

“Lebanon will not be able to continue to face the repercussions of this crisis alone”, he warned.
“The number of displaced and refugees in our country is almost half the number of the Lebanese citizens and this raised the poverty rate to 30% and doubled the unemployment rate to 20%, and to more than 30% among the youth. It also depleted the public services and the infrastructure and increased fiscal deficit while the economic growth fell from 8% before the crisis to almost 1% at present”, Hariri explained.

He added that the government has decided to confront this crisis, developing a unified vision based on upgrading the infrastructure and the public services to rehabilitate the refugees.
“We launched this ambitious plan because our duty is to advance our economy, protect our country and provide job opportunities for the youth”, Hariri said.

“But we count on the international and Arab support to finance the investment program in the infrastructure and the public services. We know that our Arab brothers who always stood with Lebanon in good and bad times will be at the forefront in encouraging us and leading the international community to contribute with them to ensure the stability of our country and its capacity to be resilient in the face of the hurricanes in the region”, the PM added.

Later in the day, Hariri met with the Qatari Prime Minister and Interior Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, in the presence of ministers Moein Merehbi, Pierre Abi Assi and Melhem Riachi, Lebanese Ambassador to Qatar Hassan Najem and Hariri’s Chief of Staff Nader Hariri.

During the meeting, discussions focused on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region and the bilateral relations.
Hariri also met with the President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Later on, the Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani held a lunch banquet in honor of Hariri and the accompanying delegation.

Earlier on Sunday, Hariri met with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and discussed with him the developments.
Hariri had arrived in the Qatari capital on Saturday evening.