Best time to invest in Lebanon, says Hariri


saad-haririLebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri declared Thursday that “this is the best time to invest in Lebanon,” after the Lebanese showed “wisdom” during the November political crisis.

“This is the best time to invest in Lebanon because, thanks to this political stability and security in our country, we have been able to establish that the country is capable of confronting crises in a wise manner,” Hariri declared during the Global Business Summit, organized by Endeavor Lebanon and LIFE at the Four Seasons Hotel.

He added that the government’s goal is to ensure that the fiscal deficit will not increase from 2017 to 2018, and that the country will be able to meet all financial challenges next year.

“Over the course of this year, we achieved many things. People did not believe at first and thought that this consensus could explode at any time. But it enabled us to overcome a very difficult situation in a wise way,” Hariri said.

As for Lebanon’s ties with Arab Gulf countries, the premier said: “I think the Gulf has a problem with one political party and not with the whole of Lebanon. The Gulf is not going to take steps against all of Lebanon.”

“I assure you that we have the best relationship with Saudi Arabia and very good relationship with the UAE and most of the Gulf,” he added.

“We will make sure that our disassociation policy will satisfy everyone and not only Lebanon,” Hariri stressed.

Hariri has been a political ally of Saudi Arabia but his coalition government includes Lebanon’s Shi‘ite Muslim Hezbollah militant group, an ally of Shi‘ite Iran and sworn enemy of Sunni Muslim Riyadh.

Last month’s political crisis, sparked when Hariri announced his resignation while in Saudi Arabia, raised fear in Lebanon that Riyadh and its Gulf allies would take economic action against the tiny Mediterranean country.

In an interview broadcast from Riyadh before he returned to Lebanon and rescinded his resignation, Hariri warned of possible Gulf sanctions on Lebanon and of a threat to the livelihood of Lebanese workers in Gulf states.

His remarks on Thursday seemed aimed at reassuring that no such action was in the cards.

“The Gulf has a problem with one political party in Lebanon and does not have a problem with the whole of Lebanon,” Hariri added, alluding to Hezbollah.