Business / Economy

Lebanon aims at playing key role in China's Belt and Road Initiative

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-27 10:59

BEIRUT - Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam vowed Tuesday not to despair despite the enormous challenges facing the country, stressing that Lebanon aims at a key role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Lebanon is looking forward to playing a key role in the economic course of Silk Road initiative due to its special (geographic) position," Salam said in a speech at the sixth session of the Conference of Arab-Chinese Businessmen.

The initiative of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is aimed at reviving the ancient trade routes that span Asia, Africa and Europe.

"The Arab-Chinese Businessmen Forum constitutes the key pillar of cooperation between the Arab world and China. This event also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the first trade agreement between Lebanon and China," Salam said.

"China has become the first trade partner for Lebanon, and we expect this partnership to extend owing to the new horizons of cooperation," he added.

Salam also indicated that Lebanon was determined to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The AIIB is designed to finance infrastructure construction in the continent. It will have authorized capital of $100 billion and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around $50 billion.

The bank, which will be headquartered in Beijing, is expected to be officially established at the end of 2015.

Turning to the local issues, Salam said "we are exerting efforts to maintain the nation's best interest through dialogue."

Lebanon marked on Monday one year vacuum in the presidential post since Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended May 25 last year and the parliament failing in 23 consecutive times to elect a new president.

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