By Ibrahim al-Khazen
ISTANBUL (AA) – Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said crisis-stricken Lebanon needs national rapprochement.
Lebanon needs “Lebanese rapprochement” and not “Saudi-Iranian rapprochement,” bin Farhan told the Saudi-funded Al-Arabiya television.
“Lebanon must [realize] its own interests, and politicians must put Lebanon’s interest before any other. Once they do this and work on building the Lebanese state, Lebanon will prosper,” he added.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore their diplomatic relations following talks in the Chinese capital Beijing.
“We reached agreements that are based on [the concept] of good neighborliness, respect of states’ sovereignty… [The agreement] also stems from the Kingdom’s belief that dialogue is the best way to resolve all matters,” bin Farhan said.
“We are optimistic about the future, and we are working on strengthening the relation with Iran,” he said. “Saudi Arabia aspires to serve the interests of all countries in the region and protect their security.”
Since 2019, Lebanon has been facing a crippling economic crisis that, according to the World Bank, is one of the worst the world has seen in modern times.
The country has been unable to elect a new president since October 2022 to replace former President Michel Aoun since amid differences among political rivals.
Lebanon has also been without a fully functioning government since May last year, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his Cabinet having limited powers in their current caretaker status.
* Writing by Ahmed Asmar