Doha- Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that the region requires stability, stressing that finding job opportunities for youth would help confront extremism.
Hariri also said on Sunday at the opening of the 17th “Doha Forum” in the Qatari capital that Lebanon’s economic development is facing difficulties as a result of the presence of 1.5 million displaced Syrians and half a million Palestinian refugees on its territories.
He called for international and Arab support to finance investment programs in infrastructure and public services.
“The most important thing that our Arab region needs today is stability … This, in my opinion, must be the primary goal that we should achieve together and as soon as possible,” Hariri stated.
“Extremist groups are fully aware of this and are trying to destabilize the whole world. They have become a danger that should be confronted through the cooperation of all countries, societies, religions and cultures,” he added.
“Arab countries are facing many challenges, some of which are common to all,” he said.
While stating that each country and society has its own approach in facing these challenges, their goal should be one: “Creating job opportunities, particularly for the youth.”
“This goal can only be achieved through the stimulation of economic growth and full partnership between the public and private sectors. One of the priorities of the government in Lebanon is to achieve the partnership law between the private and public sectors, which will be the framework for activating this partnership,” said Hariri.
Turning to the issue of refugees, the premier said that the Lebanese state and civil society fulfilled their duties and obligations towards the humanitarian crisis.
“But Lebanon will not be able to continue to face the repercussions of this crisis alone. The number of displaced and refugees in our country is almost half the number of the Lebanese citizens and this raised the poverty rate to 30 percent and doubled the unemployment rate to 20 percent, and to more than 30 percent among the youth.”
“It also depleted the public services and the infrastructure and increased fiscal deficit while the economic growth fell from 8 percent before the crisis to almost 1 percent at present,” Hariri said.
“We know that our Arab brothers who always stood with Lebanon in good and bad times will be at the forefront in encouraging us and leading the international community to contribute with them to ensure the stability of our country and its capacity to be resilient in the face of the hurricanes in the region,” he added.