Qatar’s foreign minister announced Monday that his country intends to buy $500 million of Lebanese government bonds, according to a statement from the Qatari Foreign Ministry.
The announcement came a day after Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani participated in the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Beirut and met with President Michel Aoun.
According to the statement, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told Qatar News Agency that “Qatar was always committed to supporting our Lebanese brethren amid the huge challenges that they are facing.”
He said the decision “comes from the deep relationship that brings both brotherly countries together. Qatar’s commitment toward its Arab brothers remains constant no matter how the circumstances may change.”
The Qatari foreign minister wished Lebanon stability and prosperity and expressed hope that the “Lebanese economy will recover,” saying the region needs a “strong” Lebanon.
A statement from Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said that Qatar’s move to buy Lebanese bonds “followed efforts exerted by” caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and that Bassil had suggested it to Qatar’s emir at the summit Sunday.
The summit was held amid warnings from Lebanese officials that the economy may collapse if the state does not take steps to implement serious fiscal and public sector reforms.
Lebanon’s public debt is the third highest in the world, at about 150 percent of its GDP.
Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil earlier this month made comments that appeared to support debt restructuring, but the idea received immediate backlash, and soon after he announced that Lebanon was “absolutely not” considering doing so.
The Daily Star