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Crisis-Hit Lebanon to Stop Paying Outstanding Eurobonds

Crisis-Hit Lebanon to Stop Paying Outstanding Eurobonds

Monday, 23 March, 2020 - 12:45
Lebanon's Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in Beirut, Lebanon March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Asharq Al-Awsat

Lebanon will discontinue payments on all its foreign currency Eurobonds, the finance ministry said on Monday, as it seeks to devise a way out of the country's crippling crisis.

"The government has decided to discontinue payments on all of its outstanding $US-denominated Eurobonds," said an English-language statement posted on the ministry's website.

The government "intends to engage in good faith negotiations as soon as possible" and the ministry will hold an investor presentation on March 27, it said.

The heavily indebted state suspended a $1.2 billion Eurobond repayment this month, declaring it could not repay debt with foreign currency reserves falling to "dangerous" levels.

It called for debt restructuring talks with creditors.

Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni told Reuters earlier this month that initial contacts with creditors had started via the government's financial adviser, US investment bank Lazard, as Lebanon waited to see whether bondholders would cooperate or sue.

He also said the crisis plan would be ready in weeks and meet IMF advice.

Economy Minister Raoul Nehme told Reuters last week that the impact of the coronavirus may make harder to get help from foreign states and that Lebanon should consider IMF aid as one option.

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