Lebanon eyes ‘good news’ for economy after UAE meetings

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – Lebanon is awaiting “good news” after seeking financial support from the United Arab Emirates to shore up its heavily indebted economy, a government official told Reuters on Monday.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri had a “good meeting” with UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the source said, after a conference in Abu Dhabi, where the Lebanese delegation sought a cash injection for its central bank and investments in food, infrastructure, oil and gas, and renewable energy.

Faced with one of the world’s highest debt burdens, low growth and crumbling infrastructure, Beirut has vowed to implement long-delayed reforms. It is also seeking to curb a sharp loss of confidence among foreign investors and among depositors who are turning away from the Lebanese pound.

While no deal was formally announced, Lebanese officials portrayed Monday’s high-stakes talks as positive while Abu Dhabi stressed its support for Lebanon. In response, dollar bonds issued by heavily-indebted Lebanon rose.

Crown Prince Mohammed “stressed during the meeting that the UAE…is keen on supporting its relationships with Lebanon on different levels, and stands by it in all that preserves its security and stability,” state news agency WAM reported.

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