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Economic Meeting in Lebanon after Border Tension

Economic Meeting in Lebanon after Border Tension

Monday, 2 September, 2019 - 07:15
People take selfies as smoke rises from shells fired from Israel in Maroun al-Ras village, near the border with Israel, in southern Lebanon, September 1, 2019. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

There is wide anticipation this week on the outcomes of a meeting to be hosted on Monday by President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace in an effort to salvage the country from an economic collapse.

“This meeting is the country’s last chance to lay certain economic foundations, even if it would take unpopular measures,” a ministerial source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

Foreign governments and donor institutions last year pledged $11 billion in financing to Lebanon for major infrastructure at the CEDRE conference in Paris, on condition that it carries out reforms.

Measures to reduce the budget deficit and reform the power sector, which bleeds public funds while inflicting daily power cuts on Lebanese, are seen as two vital tests of the government's ability to reform.

“If we keep drowning the country, the international donors and institutions could withdraw their pledges to help Lebanon recover from its crises,” the source warned.

Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and senior political figures representing various parliamentary blocs are expected to attend Monday’s meeting, which comes a day after Israel and Hezbollah exchanged fire on the border.

Israel on Sunday shelled the outskirts of Lebanese border villages after Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles on an Israeli military base and vehicles.

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