Qatar's FM pledges support for Lebanon during surprise Beirut visit, but won't sponsor reconciliation talks
"Doha will continue to assist Lebanon in the reconstruction after the Beirut Port explosion," said Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani during a press conference at the Baabda Palace.
On 4 August, an explosion of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate killed more than 200 people, wounded thousands, and ravaged large parts of the capital.
Doha has pledged to help with the reconstruction of parts of Beirut destroyed in the blast.
"Qatar is rehabilitating a number of schools that were damaged by the port explosion," he explained.
Al-Thani called on Lebanese political forces to "give priority to the national interest over partisan interests", stressing that his visit was "a message of support and urging officials to form a government".
However, the foreign minister also stated that the formation of the government is an internal matter, adding that Qatar has friendly relations with all political parties in Lebanon.
"There is currently no initiative to invite Lebanese leaders to Doha to find a solution to the government formation crisis," he said.
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The surprise visit by the Qatari foreign minister was not pre-determined, sources as the Baabda presidential palace told The New Arab's Arabic language service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Al-Thani was questioned by journalists on whether his visit was to undermine a French initiative for political reconciliation, with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri currently in Paris for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.
"Qatar is not seeking to torpedo the French initiative, we come as a continuation of the international efforts and efforts to form a government," he said.
Al-Thani added that the visit was not coordinated with Hariri's absence and that Qatari officials will meet him in future visits.
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun expressed appreciation at Qatar's support and said that Doha has shown solidarity with Beirut on several times occasions.
Al-Thani also met with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, with sources confirming to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that they discussed the formation of a new government to hasten a political solution in Lebanon.