Turkish President, Lebanese Prime Minister pledge to strengthen bilateral ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati met in the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday, where the two leaders held talks on strengthening bilateral relations between their countries in various fields. In a joint press conference, Erdogan said Turkey supports the Lebanese government’s reform efforts. Trade between Turkey and Lebanon reached $1.8 billion in 2021, an increase of around 80%, despite the pandemic, the Turkish president pointed out. “We discussed the measures that can be taken to increase this figure,” he said, noting that Turkish companies were ready to undertake major infrastructure projects in Lebanon, including the reconstruction of the port of Beirut. The port suffered major damage in 2020 when a large amount of ammonium nitrate exploded in one of the most powerful man-made non-nuclear explosions in history, killing at least 218 people and injuring 7,000. Erdogan also noted that Turkish Airlines was offering a 20% discount on all flights to Beirut until the end of February in a bid to boost tourism. Mikati said Beirut and Ankara plan to take important steps to improve their political, economic and trade relations, as well as tourism.

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