Lebanese lawmaker Faysal Karami on Wednesday December 5th met Chinese Ambassador Wang Kejian and discussed the role Lebanon’s key port city, Tripoli, could play in future Syria reconstruction, state media agency NNA reports.
Karami praised Tripoli’s history in transforming Lebanon’s economic and social future, but said that its pivotal role can go beyond national borders to benefit the region as whole.
Speaking to Wang, Karami cited Tripoli’s enthusiasm for its port’s prospective utility in the Syria reconstruction project, especially in rebuilding efforts promised for the neighbouring Syria provinces.
The city could become a direct link to some of Syria’s most devastated areas, such as the central city of Homs and Aleppo.
Karami said Tripoli cannot “wait any longer for the reconstruction of Syria and Aleppo as promised, so it is more useful to begin the reconstruction and development of our regions with the help of friends, led by the Chinese giant.”
The Lebanese official also sought to attract Chinese funds to Tripoli by citing the lack of state investment in the city, which is located in one of the most impoverished and neglected parts of the country.
“We explained to the ambassador the economic situation in Tripoli and discussed the proposed solutions, especially in the near absence of state projects,” he said.
Karami assured Wang that “what connects Tripoli with China is great, especially as Tripoli is one of the main cities on the Silk Road and has the potential to play a pivotal role in the region.”
Wang, for his part, stressed that “the city has great potentials and elements that put it in the ranks of major cities through the pumping of investments, from its sons first and then from the outside.”
He promised to “relay what he heard from Karami of ideas and investment projects to the city's vital facilities, to officials, companies and investors in China.”
In 2017, the Financial Times said humanitarian officials studying Syrian reconstruction options concluded that Tripoli’s port is deeper than those of Tartus and Latakia in Syria and could provide fast access that avoids Syrian roads which come with the risk of clashing militias.