Saudi-French initiative to solve Lebanon crisis
Agencies | Riyadh
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
A Saudi-French initiative to solve the diplomatic crisis between the Gulf States and Lebanon was announced yesterday by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron revealed this after talks with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reported Saudi television channel Asharq TV. Macron, who is on a Gulf tour, said Riyadh had committed to supporting reforms in Lebanon, helping it solve its crisis and preserving its sovereignty, Asharq reported.
Earlier, speaking to the press in Dubai, Macron said Saudi Arabia, the most populated and most powerful country in the Gulf, held the key to preserving peace and stability in the Middle East and the French endeavour to assist Lebanon. Macron also considers Saudi help vital to help forge a region-wide peace deal with Iran.
A business delegation of about 100 companies, including TotalEnergies, EDF, Thales and Vivendi, attended an investment forum. In October, Riyadh expelled Lebanon’s envoy to the kingdom, recalled its ambassador to Beirut and banned Lebanese imports after former Lebanese information minister George Kordahi made critical remarks about Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen war. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain took similar steps against Lebanon following the Saudi move.
Kordahi resigned on Friday ahead of Macron’s visit to ease the rift, saying he was acting in his country’s interest to help end the dispute.
Macron said he and bin Salman had called Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to stress that Paris and Riyadh were committed to supporting Lebanon, the Asharq report said. Lebanon is struggling with a deep economic crisis and desperately needs financial support from regional and international donors.
His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, met French President Emmanuel Macron, who was in Saudi Arabia as part of a Gulf tour.
HRH Prince Salman and Macron exchanged pleasantries ahead of a lunch banquet hosted by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia.
HRH Prince Salman, who was on a brotherly visit to Saudi Arabia, later visited the spectacular Corniche Circuit in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
Jeddah Corniche Circuit will stage today the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as the penultimate race on the 2021 Formula One season calendar.