Lebanese Premier Speaks at COP26, Holds Meetings with World Leaders as Gulf Crisis Escalates

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he fears climate change will “exacerbate” the myriad of challenges Lebanon is confronting.

During his speech on Tuesday at the COP26 UN conference on climate summit, Mikati expressed his concerns that climate emergencies will obstruct Lebanon’s economic and social progress at a time when the country’s social fabric is being torn apart by a financial crisis.

Mikati has held several meetings on the sidelines of the conference. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had a “productive” meeting with Mikati and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to “support” Lebanon.

“We discussed the need to implement urgent reforms to address Lebanon’s economic crisis and to hold free and fair elections next year,” he tweeted following the exchange.

Meanwhile, in an apparent attempt to curb one of the biggest diplomatic crisis in years, Mikati said he appreciates Saudi Arabia’s “keenness to launch the Green Middle East Initiative.”

Last week, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador in Lebanon and asked the Lebanese Ambassador to leave Riyadh within 48 hours over.

Hours later, Bahrain ordered the Lebanese ambassador to leave the country.

The Bahraini foreign ministry also demanded the Lebanese ambassador leave the kingdom within 48 hours.

The United Arab Emirates has also announced the withdrawal of its ambassador from Lebanon and advised its citizens not to travel to the country.

The move came days after a video circulated on social media in which Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi described the war in Yemen as an aggression by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Kordahi made the comments on a TV program before he was assigned for the post in September.

In efforts to smooth relations, Mikati visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia pavilions at the conference. The two countries had recalled their ambassadors to Lebanon over Kordahi’s remarks.

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