Qatar FM Invites Aoun to Visit Doha, Vows ‘Continued Support’ for Lebanon

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman al-Thani held talks Wednesday in Baabda with President Michel Aoun as part of an official visit to Lebanon.

The minister handed Aoun a letter from Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Lebanon’s National News Agency said.

“We hope this will be a beginning for restoring stability and we wish success for the efforts that are aimed at forming a government so that things can return to normal,” the Qatari minister said after the meeting.

“We invited President Aoun to visit Qatar and we congratulate the Lebanese on overcoming the presidential void crisis and we hope they will also overcome the cabinet formation dilemma,” he added.

Sheikh Mohammed also stressed that “the Qatari-Lebanese relations will continue and Qatar’s support for Lebanon will not stop.”

The meeting was attended by caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

The Qatari visitor later headed to Ain el-Tineh where he held talks with Speaker Nabih Berri.

“I was honored to meet Speaker Berri and I conveyed to him the greetings of Qatar’s emir Sheikh Tamim and congratulated him on the election of President Michel Aoun,” Sheikh Mohammed said after the meeting.

He later met with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, caretaker PM Tammam Salam, caretaker FM Bassil, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat, Kataeb Party leader MP Sami Gemayel and General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim.

The visit comes a few days after a similar one by a senior Saudi delegation led by Mecca Governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal.

Aoun’s election as Lebanon’s 13th president after two and a half years of presidential void has raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In addition to pledges of economic growth and security, Aoun said in his oath of office that Lebanon must work to ensure Syrian refugees “can return quickly” to their country.

Aoun also pledged to endorse an “independent foreign policy” and to protect Lebanon from “the fires burning across the region.”