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Lebanese Economy Minister: Absence of Saudi Investors, Tourists Led to Financial Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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People walk past empty restaurants in downtown Beirut, Lebanon on November 20, 2012. (Reuters/Mohamed Azakir)

Beirut–Lebanese Minister of Economy, Dr. Alain Hakim, said that the economic situation in Lebanon has witnessed some deterioration due to the political crisis that hampers the work of the government’s financial and economic institutions.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper on Thursday, Hakim said that the absence of Gulf investors and tourists, in particular from Saudi Arabia, has had negative repercussions on the country’s investment and tourism sectors, adding that the toppling of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s government in 2011 and the involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict have resulted in a high political price.

Asked about concerns regarding the economic situation in Lebanon, Hakim said: “Of course, the economic situation has deteriorated due to the political situation that hampers the making of necessary economic and financial decisions.”

He added that Lebanon incurred heavy burdens due to the ongoing crisis in Syria and its negative consequences, including the closure of borders, which harmed the Lebanese exports, and the flow of Syrian migrants.

Hakim added that the decline in investments rates affected the economic cycle and the Lebanese employment and industrial sectors.

The Lebanese economy minister stressed the need to implement necessary reforms and to adopt the proposed reform plan that was recently submitted to the government.

“We have tried several times to convince our Arab brothers to come back to Lebanon, but it is clear that we have paid a high economic price due to the toppling of Saad Hariri’s government and the involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian war,” Hakim said.