UAE supports Lebanon, Mohammed bin Zayed tells Saad Hariri in Abu Dhabi meeting

The UAE supports Lebanon and wishes for the formation of a new government, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, told Lebanese Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri during their meeting in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The two reviewed the latest developments in Lebanon, and efforts related to forming a new government, state news agency WAM reported.

“Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed… affirmed the UAE’s support for the Lebanese people and their ambitions for unity, stability and development,” the report said.

Lebanon is currently experiencing a crushing economic crisis, its worst since its 1975-1990 civil war, and nationwide protests. The country has seen its currency plummet, banks paralyzed and at least half the population pushed into poverty.

Still, Lebanon’s wrangling politicians have failed to agree a new government, drawing rebuke from donors and warnings of “a social catastrophe” from UN agencies.

Hariri was given the task of forming a government in October but is struggling so far to cobble together a cabinet to share power with all Lebanese parties, including powerful Shia militia Hezbollah.

Mohammed bin Zayed expressed sincere wishes for Lebanon to form a government that “prioritizes national reconciliation and seeks to survive differences and overcome the challenges besetting the nation.”

Hariri said on Sunday Lebanon had no way out of its crisis without help from Arab countries.

Gulf states have historically given financial aid to the troubled Middle Eastern country, and Hariri said late-2019 that Lebanon was promised financial assistance by the UAE during his visit there. However, Gulf countries have concerns over the growing influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hariri expressed his appreciation for “the UAE’s position toward Lebanon across all fronts, including its support for his country to stem the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic,” WAM said on Friday.

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