(Photo credit: Doha News)
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani arrived in Beirut on 30 June, as Lebanon prepares to host an Arab League meeting in Beirut on the weekend.
Al-Thani was received by his Lebanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib, at Rafik Hariri International Airport, along with Lebanon’s Ambassador to the Gulf state, Farah Berri.
The Arab League meeting, which will be attended by the representatives of several regional countries, as well as the Secretary-General of the organization, Ahmad Aboul Gheit, comes several months before its full summit takes place in Algeria this November.
Qatar has previously pledged to assist Lebanon, which is facing the worst economic crisis in its history since the country’s financial meltdown in 2019. The Gulf state, however, said it would only provide assistance upon the formation of a new Lebanese government.
“Unfortunately, the people of Lebanon are under a lot of political pressure from their own political leaders. This is what resulted at the end of the day with what we have seen now with these divisions … We see some of the political leaders with a desire to change, but unfortunately there’s something in the system that’s holding everyone back,” the Qatari diplomat said in February.
“The only solution for Lebanon is to have real political reform,” Al-Thani said at the time.
On 22 February, Qatar’s Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi announced that the GCC country is working to support Lebanon with a long-term energy supply of liquified natural gas (LNG).
He expressed support for a US-sponsored plan to provide the crisis-hit nation with Egyptian gas through Jordan and Syria.
The plan was put in place in response to efforts by Hezbollah to import Iranian fuel to the Levantine country.
However, to this day, Washington has yet to issue a sanctions waiver to remove liability to US sanctions under the Caesar Act for the countries and companies involved in the deal.
On top of this, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is currently involved in negotiations led by recently re-elected Prime Minister Najib Mikati to secure a grant for Lebanon, has refused to finance the decision in what has been seen as a politically motivated decision.