Lebanon’s political, economic and popular circles have voiced satisfaction with the launch of the Saudi-French Fund to support food security and the health sector in the country.
The joint initiative by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, comes to alleviate major crises facing Lebanon, in parallel with preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 15.
Saudi Ambassador Walid Al-Bukhari, French Ambassador Anne Griot and the Director of the French Development Agency in Lebanon have signed the “Framework Memorandum of Understanding for the Saudi-French Fund to Support the Lebanese People”, which “aims to support the vulnerable population” in the country.
The agreement grants nearly 30 million euros to humanitarian and development projects.
In a speech delivered on the occasion, Al-Bukhari said that the partnership “aims to support humanitarian and relief work in Lebanon with the highest standards of transparency.”
He noted that the funding would focus on six main sectors, including food security, health, education, energy, water and internal security.
“We fulfill our obligations toward Lebanon without discriminating against its sects and groups, based on our duty of Arab brotherhood,” the Saudi ambassador stated.
The French Embassy in Lebanon said in a statement that the French contribution aimed to support “the vulnerable people in Lebanon and respond to their most urgent needs in the sectors of health and food safety.”
It added: “The agreement, which is consistent with the guidelines adopted by President Macron and the Saudi Crown Prince on December 4 in Jeddah, represents an important step toward implementing the commitment made in Paris on February 28 by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and his Saudi counterpart: they pledged that France and Saudi Arabia would provide emergency financial support to projects assisting vulnerable populations in Lebanon.”
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the head of the parliamentary Economy Committee, MP Yassin Jaber, said that the launch of the fund at this particular time “confirms that Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arab brothers and friendly countries, will not abandon Lebanon,” underlining the importance of the initiative as it comes within an Arab-European partnership.
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, for his part, pointed to the importance of the agreement in order to provide assistance to the various Lebanese institutions, which he said would reflect positively on the living and social conditions across Lebanon.