Dubai: The United Arab Emirates said it’s “studying” possible aid to Lebanon, raising the prospect of a lifeline to the beleaguered country as it tries to get public finances in order after two weeks of anti-government protests.
While the UAE central bank hasn’t agreed on specific details, it will “study and make recommendations in light of the recent developments” in Lebanon, Governor Mubarak Al Mansoori told reporters in Abu Dhabi Sunday.
Just two weeks before Lebanon’s mass anti-government protests, its then-premier Saad Hariri was in the UAE seeking investment deals.
“The UAE stood by Lebanon in good and difficult days ... and we are here to strengthen our cooperation by creating partnerships between our private sectors,” Hariri said at the time.
“We hope the Emiratis invest in economic projects in Lebanon,”
The premier was attending the UAE-Lebanon Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, which also saw senior ministers in his cabinet and Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salama attend.
Hariri resigned on Tuesday following unprecedented nationwide protests, deepening a political crisis and complicating efforts to enact badly needed economic reforms.
But it is still unclear what a new government would look like and if it would meet protesters’ demands that it include independent experts.
The protests have been less intense since Hariri resigned, but demonstrators remain on the streets and a core demand is the rapid formation of a government led by technocrats to carry out the badly needed economic reforms.