Naharnet

Mashnouq Foresees Economic Boom within 10 Years

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed on Thursday at the end of a short visit to the Gulf country Qatar that “Lebanon will witness an economic boom within ten years due to the promising oil reserves.”

“The Arab investments in Lebanon haven't been lost during the last four decades, on the contrary they increased, despite all the turmoil that Lebanon passed through,” Mashnouq said during a meeting with President of the Qatari Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani and Qatari businessmen.

Fitch, Standard and Poors and Moody's rating agencies had downgraded Lebanon's rating in 2013, citing political uncertainties, spill-overs from the Syrian conflict on economic performance and slow growth prospects.

Fitch Lebanon's credit rating was affirmed at 'B', while S&P rates the country 'B-' and Moody's has the nation above Fitch at 'B1'. All with negative outlook.

The minister reiterated that the security situation in Lebanon is “under control and will remain as it is for a long time.”

Mashnouq urged Qatari businessmen to return to Lebanon, calling on the state to lift the travel ban to the country.

He pledged to offer Qataris all the “needed help to provide them with the comfort they need and facilitate the offered services.”

Several Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have repeatedly issued travel advisories, warning their citizens against visiting Lebanon due to the security chaos.

However, Riyadh recently lifted the travel ban to Beirut.

Mashnouq headed to Qatar on Tuesday for a short visit, he was accompanied by General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, ISF leader Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous and several other top officials.

H.K.

G.K.


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