Doha- Following a new page of relations that President Michel Aoun opened with Saudi Arabia during his visit this week, the Lebanese president moved on Wednesday to his second Gulf destination, Qatar, from where he announced the start of “a new phase” in bilateral ties.
High-ranking Lebanese sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the first characteristic of this new phase would be the official visit of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Beirut in the coming five months, in addition to reviving the “Higher Joint Committee,” which is expected to hold its first meeting in Doha after a seven-year lull.
The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun was content when he left Riyadh, and is expected to leave Doha with the same feeling, particularly after receiving a warm welcome in both countries, folding a phase of tension in the relations between Lebanon and each of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The sources also asserted that the Lebanese delegation did not carry any demands during its two trips to Riyadh and Doha, but only focused on opening a new page and asserting Lebanon’s stable position in the Arab world. The sources said the outcome of the two visits would soon start to appear with amelioration in the relations between both sides.
An official statement issued by Lebanon on Wednesday said that Aoun and Sheikh Tamim agreed on revitalizing meetings for the higher joint committee between both countries under the chairmanship of the prime ministers of Lebanon and Qatar.
The Qatari Emir also said the election of Aoun as a President was the best choice because “Aoun will lead the country to safe shores.”
Sheikh Tamim underscored the national role played by Lebanese security apparatuses to preserve stability and security in Lebanon, saying that such a matter “encouraged a lot of Qatari families to visit Lebanon during holidays.”
He expressed willingness for Qatari contributions to development projects in Lebanon, indicating the enthusiasm of Qatari businessmen to invest in Lebanon.
For his part, Aoun thanked the Emir for the warm reception, praising bilateral ties between the two countries, “which must be consolidated at all levels.”
He also recapped the accomplished Lebanese military operations against terror.