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EU committed to helping Lebanon overcome crisis: Envoy

The statement came after De Waele’s meeting on Wednesday with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati…reports Asian Lite News

The newly-appointed EU Ambassador to Lebanon, Sandra De Waele, has vowed to work closely with Lebanese authorities and the international community to help Lebanon overcome its crisis.

“I look forward to working closely with Lebanese authorities, civil society organisations, and the international community to put Lebanon on the path to recovery,” she said on Wednesday in a statement.

De Waele stressed the European Union’s long-standing partnership with Lebanon and reiterated its commitment to assisting Lebanon in addressing its worsening socio-economic crisis.

“The EU continues to support the implementation of structural reforms, which would help Lebanon build strong state institutions accountable to their citizens,” she said, adding fully operational institutions would also benefit relations between the EU and Lebanon.

The statement came after De Waele’s meeting on Wednesday with Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Lebanon has been suffering from the worst financial crisis in its history, with more than 80 per cent of the population struggling with poverty.

Meanwhile, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, has held a series of meetings with Lebanese politicians over recent days. He said: “Saudi Arabia is keen on maintaining Lebanese stability and adhering to the Taif Agreement (reached in 1989 to provide the basis for the ending of the civil war and return to political normalcy in Lebanon) and the Lebanese constitution.”

He held talks with the head of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt and on Tuesday met the leader of the Lebanese Forces party Samir Geagea as part of a political tour ahead of the presidential elections.

Jumblatt said: “We discussed many issues; but Bukhari stressed the Kingdom’s historic keenness on Lebanese stability, the Taif Agreement, and the constitution, and that we, the Lebanese, respect constitutional deadlines and elect a president.”

Geagea said: “We discussed local and regional issues but focused on the Lebanese crisis and talked about the upcoming elections.

“I learned that Saudi Arabia has prepared large aid packages for Lebanon, which require us to have a president, a prime minister, and a government that can be trustworthy, since the Kingdom is unwilling to deal with any Lebanese official involved in financial or political corruption,” he added.

A source in Dar Al-Fatwa said that the spiritual authority for the Sunni community in Lebanon would be holding a meeting for Sunni MPs on Saturday. Of the 27 in parliament, two had so far declined the invitation, reformist Halime Kaakour and independent Osama Saad.

“This will be the first meeting that brings together Sunni MPs of various political orientations since their victory in the parliamentary elections in May,” the source said.

On Tuesday, the Lebanese pound reached a record low. Banks closed for the second day in a row while the price of goods, especially fuel.

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