|18 September, 2019

Saudi Arabia in talks with Lebanon about financial aid- Saudi finmin

A Lebanese official source said Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri "has been talking to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a high level about support" and would stop in Riyadh on his way to France

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Senegal's President Macky Sall and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri attend the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Senegal's President Macky Sall and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri attend the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

RIYADH- Saudi Arabia is in discussions with the Lebanese government about providing financial support, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said on Wednesday.

"We continue to believe and put our money and commitment in Lebanon, we'll continue to support Lebanon and we are working with its government," Jadaan said in an interview with Reuters.

A Lebanese official source said Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri "has been talking to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at a high level about support" and would stop in Riyadh on his way to France where he is due to meet President Emmanuel Macron on Friday.

Work is underway to convene a meeting in October of a high-level Lebanese-Saudi ministerial council that would witness the signing of agreements between the countries including investments in Lebanon, the Lebanese official source added.

The meeting, to be held in Saudi Arabia, would be chaired on the Lebanese side by Hariri and by a senior Saudi official.

Lebanon's dollar-denominated government bonds rose on the Saudi finance minister's comments. The 2037 issue gained 1.9 cents to 64.88 cents in the dollar, while the 2029 paper added 1.8 cents to 64.00 cents in the dollar, according to Tradeweb data.

One of the world's most heavily indebted states, Lebanon is aiming to drive through long-postponed reforms to put the public finances on a sustainable path.

The impetus has grown due to a stagnant economy and a slow down in the inflow of hard currency from Lebanese abroad that has long been a key source of financing for the state and current account deficits.

(Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Davide Barbuscia in Riyadh, Tom Perry in Beirut and Tom Arnold in London; Editing by Angus MacSwan) ((Tuqa.Khalid@thomsonreuters.com; +971521047568;))

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