Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

French Sources: No Date Set for ISG for Lebanon Meeting

French Sources: No Date Set for ISG for Lebanon Meeting

Sunday, 1 December, 2019 - 08:45
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) shakes hands with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during the Cedar (CEDRE) Conference for international donors and investors to support Lebanon's economy, in Paris, France, April 6, 2018. Ludovic Marin/Pool via Reuters/File Photo

Paris continues its efforts to support Lebanon, especially through the pursuit to hold a meeting for the International Support Group for Lebanon. This support aims to get the Lebanese out of their institutional crisis and urge them to move forward in government formation.

French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Paris wants the Lebanese people to understand that France’s preparation for the anticipated conference aims to urge them to fill the government vacuum and understand that achieving this goal will secure financial support for them.

The financial support also includes the commitments made during CEDRE last year – it resulted in a group of grants and loans up to USD11 billion. However, the basic problem was that this financial support hinged on carrying out reform laws in the parliament.

Despite the pressures exerted by the donating and lending parties, this dilemma hasn’t been resolved.

Yet, the French sources affirmed after a meeting between French Ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil that no date has been determined yet. Earlier, Foucher announced that the meeting will be held in Paris mid-Dec but the sources question this.

In light of the consultations, Paris sees that there is an opportunity to provide financial support to Lebanon but no one in Paris discussed the mechanism by which this can occur.

Notably, outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri saw that Lebanon needs USD5 billion in order to rescue the economy and overcome the financial crisis.

Other non-French sources in Paris doubt that the conference on Lebanon will occur amid the absence of a new government.

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