Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in Abu Dhabi Sunday on the first leg of an Arab and foreign tour aiming to drum up Arab and international financial and investment support for Lebanon to help it overcome its economic crisis, officials said. During the two-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates, Hariri will meet with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and a number of other Emirati officials, a statement from the prime minister’s media office said.
Hariri will also participate Monday in the UAE-Lebanon investment forum that aims to boost economic cooperation between the two countries. The forum is sponsored by the UAE Economy Ministry and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, at the St. Regis Hotel, the released statement also added.
Hariri is expected to address the forum and talk about investment opportunities in Lebanon.
The prime minister was also expected to meet with representatives of British companies based in the UAE to discuss with them ways to enhance investment opportunities in Lebanon.
Hariri is heading a delegation of six ministers and Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh, in addition to 50 other banking and economic figures.
UAE Ambassador to Lebanon Hamad al-Shamsi renewed his country’s support for Lebanon. “The UAE would like to support Lebanon in this difficult time,” Shamsi told LBCI channel. He said the UAE-Lebanon investment forum would usher in “a new phase of economic and investment relations” between the two countries.
“We care for Lebanon which was one of the founding states of the Arab League.” Shamsi said.
Former Future MP Ammar Houri, a political adviser to Hariri, told The Daily Star: “Prime Minister Hariri’s visit to Abu Dhabi is part of a tour that will also take him to Riyadh, Berlin, Paris, and Moscow with the aim of rallying Arab and international financial and investment support for Lebanon to help it overcome the economic crisis.”
He highlighted the importance of Prime Minister Hariri’s Abu Dhabi visit, saying it was originally intended only to attend the investment forum, but it had been turned into “a state visit,” given his scheduled meeting with the crown prince. Former Minister Ghattas Khoury, a political aide to Hariri, said the premier’s visit to Abu Dhabi would help encourage the UAE to invest in Lebanon.
“Economic investment will be in all sectors,” Khoury, who is accompanying Hariri on his visit, told Al-Jadeed TV.
“We hope the visit will be successful at the political and economic levels,” he said.
Houri said Hariri would also visit Riyadh at the end of this month to attend a meeting of the Joint Lebanese-Saudi Committee.
The Daily Star