Hariri: ‘Promising summer’ for Lebanon after Saudi travel warning lifted

Saad Al-Hariri, above, said Saudi Arabia lifting the warning will greatly increase the number of Saudi tourists in Lebanon. (AFP/File)
Updated 24 April 2019
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Hariri: ‘Promising summer’ for Lebanon after Saudi travel warning lifted

  • Saudi Arabia started warning its citizens of the instability in Lebanon in 2011
  • Lebanese PM Al-Hariri hopes for a series of agreements with Saudi Arabia

BEIRUT: More people have visited Lebanon since Saudi Arabia lifted its travel warning in February, pointing to a “promising summer” ahead, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said on Wednesday.
A fall in visitors from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies has hit Lebanon’s tourism industry, once a mainstay of a now-battered economy that Hariri’s new government has pledged to revive.
Saudi Arabia was once a major supporter both of its political allies in Beirut, chiefly Hariri, and of the Lebanese state. However, mindful of its overarching rivalry with Iran, Riyadh stepped back as Iran’s Lebanese ally, the political and military Hezbollah movement, grew in strength.
Saudi Arabia had been advising its citizens since 2011 to avoid Lebanon, citing Hezbollah’s influence and instability from the war in neighboring Syria.
“Without doubt the Saudi leadership’s decision ... had the most impact in increasing the number of visitors to Lebanon recently, which gives the best proof of a promising summer,” Hariri said at a Beirut conference attended by the head of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman humanitarian center.
Hariri also said he hoped that a pledge from Riyadh to help Lebanese families in need would spark a series of agreements between the two countries.
With pillars of the economy such as tourism and real estate in the doldrums, Lebanon has suffered years of low economic growth, and run up one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.


US to hold economic conference in Bahrain to encourage investment in Palestinian areas

Updated 28 min 34 sec ago
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US to hold economic conference in Bahrain to encourage investment in Palestinian areas

  • "Peace to Prosperity" conference will be held from June 25-26
  • The conference will bring together government and business leaders

WASHINGTON: The US is to hold an international economic workshop in Bahrain in late June to encourage investment in Palestinian areas as the first part of its Middle East peace plan, according to a White House statement.

The "Peace to Prosperity" conference, which will be held from June 25-26, is intended to "galvanize support for potential economic investments" that could be made possible by a Middle East peace agreement, the statement added.

The conference will bring together government and business leaders to help "jump-start the economic portion of the US peace initiative," the White House statement said.

More to follow...