EU foreign policy chief in Beirut as Lebanon tackles major crises

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Beirut, June 19 (BNA): The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held talks with Lebanese officials in Beirut on Saturday, as the country tackles crises on the political and economic fronts, dpa reported.


Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis since a 15-year civil war ended in 1990.


Meanwhile, the country has failed to form a new government since October due to wrangling among political rivals.


EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell met President Michel Aoun during what is his first official visit to Lebanon. 


Borrell stressed that reforms and formation of a new government in Lebanon are conditional for EU assistance to the country, the Lebanese state National news agency NNA reported.


He said "the crisis that Lebanon is going through is internal" and that "consequences on the people are very great."


He is due to separately meet caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, as well as prime minister-designate Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri as well as acting foreign minister and Defence Minister Zeina Akar.


During his two-day visit, Borrell will also meet military commanders and representatives of civil society.  


According to an EU statement, Borrell will convey the bloc's solidarity with the Lebanese people in "these extremely difficult times."


Lebanon has been under pressure from international financing institutions to introduce economic reforms and act against corruption.


AOQ