BEIRUT: The UAE announced that it will lift its ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon from Tuesday, state news agency WAM said on Monday, as Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri held talks with Emirati officials to shore up support for the small Mediterranean country.
Hariri held talks with senior UAE officials, including Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, in a bid to secure financial injections in its economy.
The talks were held at the sideline of an investment forum, sponsored by the UAE Economy Ministry and the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of bolstering the economic relationship between the two states.
Lebanon is currently reeling under massive financial debt, estimated at around 150 percent of GDP.
On the sidelines of the forum, Hariri condemned "hostile activities" against Gulf states, saying that Lebanon should not "interfere or participate in any hostile activities that target Gulf countries", during an interview with the Emirates News Agency.
In a reference to Hezbollah, Hariri laid the blame for any violations at the feet of the Iranian-backed militant group, saying that "unfortunately, this decision has been violated. Not by the government, but by one of the political parties in the government."
The premier also called on Emirati companies to invest in Lebanon’s infrastructure, which has steadily deteriorated as a result of the protracted Syrian refugee crisis.
“We are here to strengthen the partnership between the Emirati and the Lebanese private sectors. We hope for Emirati companies to invest in the gas, electricity and telecommunications sectors,” Hariri said.
Meanwhile, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh sought to alleviate concerns over dollar liquidity, saying that dollar requirements will continue to be met.
"There are numerous possibilities and discussions. But this matter is left to heads of state. They will decide," he said, in a response to a question on whether the UAE will provide Lebanon with financial assistance by subscribing to a bond issue.
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