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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid invites Saad Hariri to visit UAE next month

UAE ambassador to Lebanon said he hopes prime minister will attend Arab Media Forum next month

Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri speaks during a joint press conference with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson (not pictured) at the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 15, 2018. Nabil Mounzer / EPA
Lebanon's prime minister Saad Hariri speaks during a joint press conference with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson (not pictured) at the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, on February 15, 2018. Nabil Mounzer / EPA

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has been invited to visit the UAE to attend next month's Arab Media Forum.

Hamad Al Shamsi, the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Lebanon, said he extended the invitation on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

He was speaking at the Lebanon Investment in Infrastructure Conference on Tuesday.

Saad Hariri also received Mr Al Shamsi at the Grand Serail in Beirut.

The ambassador said: “I extended an invitation to Prime Minister Hariri from UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to attend the Arab Media Forum, which will be held on April 3 and 4 in Dubai."

Prime Minister Hariri’s sudden resignation in November, which he rescinded later, plunged the country into political uncertainty and came at a time of economic downturn for the country.

The IMF has raised concerns about the country's mounting debt burden, which could balloon to 180 per cent by 2023 if the government does not undertake reforms to narrow its fiscal deficit.

Lebanon's Central Bank governor Riad Salameh and Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri attend the Lebanon Investment in Infrastructure Conference in Beirut. Mohamed Azakir / Reuters
Lebanon's Central Bank governor Riad Salameh and Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri attend the Lebanon Investment in Infrastructure Conference in Beirut. Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

Mr Hariri has visited key allies in recent months including Saudi Arabia as he seeks to steady the political situation and Mr Al Shamsi said the UAE remains a firm ally.

"Premier Hariri’s visit to Riyadh was successful on all levels," Mr Al Shamsi said.

"Riyadh and Abu Dhabi always stand by Premier Hariri, who respects and appreciates the Gulf support and we wish him all the best in the parliamentary elections.

"Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest supporters of Lebanon and its stability. We are also interested in working in Lebanon with a clear development agenda."

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