Lebanon is Working as Usual Even Without an Official Cabinet - Hariri in UK Forum

Published December 13th, 2018 - 01:25 GMT
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri at the presidential palace. AFP
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri at the presidential palace. AFP

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri affirmed the Lebanese government’s firm commitment to implementing the necessary legal, financial and economic reforms to improve the business environment and enhance transparency.

Hariri was speaking at the opening of the Lebanese-UK Business and Investment Forum at Savoy Palace in London, which was also attended by UK Minister of State for the Middle East and International Development Alistair Burt, caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, UK Trade Commissioner for the Middle East Simon Penny and the Lebanese ambassador to UK, Rami Mortada, as well as Lebanese ministers and economic officials.

The forum saw the signing of an agreement between Rolls Royce and Middle East Airlines.

Stalling in the formation of the Lebanese government imposed itself on the agenda of the forum, as a factor that affects the attractiveness of Lebanon to foreign investors and British private sector companies.

In this regard, Hariri said: “The delay in government formation has not halted our progress on the implementation of the CEDRE projects and reforms.”

“Admittedly, Lebanon’s economy is under tremendous pressure, due partly to continued regional turmoil. Moreover, our economic and social challenges are compounded by the continued presence of one and a half million Syrians displaced for the eighth year in a row,” he noted.

He added, however, that at the CEDRE conference in Paris, “the Lebanese government presented a comprehensive vision aimed at jumpstarting growth through revamping our physical infrastructure, restructuring the public sector, modernizing our legislation and procedures, enhancing governance and improving transparency, updating procurement laws and procedures, and unleashing the potential of our productive sectors.”

“This vision is anchored in significant fiscal adjustment so as to ensure macroeconomic stability,” he affirmed.

The premier-designate went on to say that after the convening of CEDRE, Lebanon successfully held parliamentary elections, and embarked on the process of forming a national unity government while respecting Lebanon’s delicate political balance.

“This is not an easy task and it explains why the process of government formation is taking more time than desired. Maintaining this delicate balance and forging political consensus is of utmost importance and the only way to ensure that the CEDRE agenda is on the right track,” he stated.

The British minister of State, for his part, welcomed the improvement of the security situation in Lebanon, stressing at the same time the need to form a government “as soon as possible.”

He said security in Lebanon improved significantly over the past years and referred to London’s recent decision to lift the ban on British nationals’ visits to several places in Lebanon.

Also on Wednesday, Hariri visited the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, at his residence in Clarence House.

Discussions focused on the bilateral relations, according to a statement issued by the premier’s press office.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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