BEIRUT — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on Tuesday that he had a “productive” meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to whom he reiterated Washington’s continued efforts to “support” Lebanon. The meeting with Blinken was one of several meetings Lebanese officials held with world leaders Tuesday on the sidelines of the COP26 UN conference on climate change, which is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland.
Here’s what we know:
• “Productive meeting with Nagib Mikati at COP26. We discussed the need to initiate urgent reforms, in order to resolve the economic crisis and hold free and fair elections next year,” Blinken wrote on Twitter.
• On the Lebanese side, the prime minister’s office indicated that the secretary of state confirmed US “support for the [Lebanese] government’s continued efforts to restore stability, recover economically, negotiate with the International Monetary Fund and organize parliamentary elections.” Blinken also stressed that Washington "will continue to support the military and the educational, health and environmental sectors" in Lebanon, according to a tweet from Mikati’s office. Environment Minister Nasser Yassin and Lebanon’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Rami Morteza participated in the meeting.
• Mikati, meanwhile, presented to Blinken his government’s approach to achieving political, economic and social stability in Lebanon, the prime minister’s office tweeted. He also outlined “preparations to launch the economic plan and start communication with the IMF.” Mikati asked for the United States’ support in pursuing that path.
• The Lebanese premier also met the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and discussed the situation in South Lebanon, conveying to him details of cooperation between the UN peacekeeping force in the area and the Lebanese Army. Mikati invited Guterres to visit Beirut, and the senior diplomat promised to pay the visit “before the end of the year.”
• Mikati also met his British and Libyan counterparts, Boris Johnson and Abdelhamid Dbeibah, respectively. Dbeibah promised to look into the possibility of importing apples from Lebanon. Lebanon has faced challenges this year in exporting its agricultural products. Qatar last week banned Lebanese imports of mint, parsley, coriander, thyme and mloukhieh due to E. Coli contamination, while Saudi Arabia imposed a ban on all Lebanese produce imports in April when more than 5 million captagon pills were found in a shipment of pomegranates that arrived in the kingdom from Lebanon.
• Mikati also had a conversation with his Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, who praised the important role Lebanese emigrants play in his country.
• Mikati is due to meet with senior representatives from the World Bank and the European Investment Bank before delivering a speech to the COP26 at around 5 p.m. Beirut time, a tweet from his office said.
• For his part, Environment Minister Nasser Yassin held a meeting with British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly and discussed cooperation between the countries in promoting integrity in the natural resources sector. Yassin also met his Cypriot counterpart, Costas Kadis, and discussed cooperation in the field of preventing forest fires.
BEIRUT — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on Tuesday that he had a “productive” meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to whom he reiterated Washington’s continued efforts to “support” Lebanon. The meeting with Blinken was one of several meetings Lebanese officials held with world leaders Tuesday on the sidelines of the COP26 UN conference on climate change,...