Lebanon's Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, plans to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on September 20 to push towards the implementation of several projects worth $1.4 billion, a Lebanese ministerial source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.
“Funding has been secured for the projects, and therefore there are no reasons for postponing their implementation,” the source said.
He stressed that the international support, which Lebanon received at the CEDRE conference held in Paris last year, is nothing but a political message that the country would never fall under Iranian influence.
Lebanon has promised donors to slash public spending as part of reforms to unlock over $11 billion in aid and low-interest loans pledged at the CEDRE conference.
According to the same source, the international community believes that the Lebanese army should receive enough backing to help the authorities have legitimacy over all Lebanese territories.
Asked about the talks that Hariri is expected to hold in Paris, the ministerial source said the discussions should set the stage for the implementation of the CEDRE decisions in line with the agreement reached between the PM and the French envoy in charge of following up on the conference, Ambassador Pierre Dukan, during his last visit to Beirut.
When in Lebanon, Dukan urged the government to take reform measures to stop the waste of funds, reduce spending, and implement the electricity plan.
“The Hariri-Macron meeting would culminate in an agreement to convene the follow-up strategic committee of the CEDRE conference next November,” the source said, adding that the two officials would agree on where this committee would meet.
He said that the international community is keen on preventing Lebanon's economic collapse, asserting that some CEDRE-funded projects should be launched as soon as the cabinet begins studying the 2020 state budget this week.