Hariri says UAE promised Lebanon aid after high-stakes talks

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is seen as his advisor Nadim Al Mulla speaks with Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, United Arab Emirate's economy minister, Oct. 7, 2019. (File/Reuters)
Updated 08 October 2019

Hariri says UAE promised Lebanon aid after high-stakes talks

BEIRUT: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said on Tuesday the United Arab Emirates has promised investments and financial aid to his deeply indebted country, though work remains to seal the deal, after two days of high-stakes talks in Abu Dhabi.
Hariri, who led a Lebanese delegation to the Gulf state, was seeking funds to stem a sharp loss of investor and depositor confidence that has pressured Lebanon’s currency and strained its lenders and central bank.
“The Emiratis promised investments and financial assistance,” he was quoted as saying in an official transcript of his comments to reporters in Abu Dhabi.
While the talks with the Emiratis were positive, Beirut “has to do some things to encourage them” to invest in Lebanon, Hariri added, without providing details.
“We are negotiating with them the investments they want to make in various sectors, in addition to financial investments in some banks or in the central bank,” he was quoted as saying in the transcript published by his office.
Faced with one of the world’s highest debt burdens, low growth and crumbling infrastructure, Beirut has vowed to implement long-delayed reforms to narrow its budget and current-account deficits, though little has so far been done.
The country, which has a debt-to-GDP ratio around 150%, is also seeking to reverse a sharp loss of confidence in the Lebanese pound. Its central bank has been drawing down its foreign exchange reserves to repay the state’s maturing debt, and has promised to do more.
“POSITIVE RESULTS“
Hariri had hoped on Monday for a cash injection into Lebanon’s central bank. But on Tuesday broadcaster MTV quoted him saying this option “requires study” and that discussions on the topic included risks to the UAE of such a move.
On Twitter, Hariri said “work is ongoing to receive” the promised funds, adding: “We have to follow up on the positive results of the visit and focus on the best investment the UAE can make in Lebanon.”
There have been no further official UAE statements on Hariri’s visit since his meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan on Monday, when the UAE lifted a ban on its citizens traveling to Lebanon.
A significant UAE investment in Lebanon would mark a new phase in relations. av


Serial airport stowaway remains jailed after latest arrest

Updated 14 October 2019

Serial airport stowaway remains jailed after latest arrest

  • Marilyn Hartman was arrested Friday night and later charged with felony criminal trespass

CHICAGO: A 67-year-old woman with a history of sneaking onto flights without a ticket will remain jailed after the latest incident in which police say she tried to get past security at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
Marilyn Hartman was arrested Friday night and later charged with felony criminal trespass. A judge on Sunday granted her bail but ordered that she stay in custody until a related probation hearing.
Hartman’s arrest marks the latest chapter in a story that’s played out for a decade at airports across the US, including last year when she was arrested after sneaking on a flight from O’Hare to London.
She ultimately pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing and was sentenced in March to 18 months’ probation after agreeing to stay away from Chicago’s two commercial airports.