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Lebanon Support Group Links Aid to Government Rescue Plan

Lebanon Support Group Links Aid to Government Rescue Plan

Wednesday, 8 April, 2020 - 07:15
The International Support Group at Baabda Presidential Palace (NNA)

A leading Lebanese political source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISGL) would only offer aid to Beirut if it sees a rescue plan aimed at easing the deep economy crisis.

“The Group did not pledge to offer financial support to Lebanon unless it sees the content of the rescue plan that the government already listed as a main item to be tackled during its cabinet meetings,” the source said.

On Monday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab met with ISGL ambassadors and asked for financial assistance to the crisis-hit country.

“The mere holding of such a meeting allows Lebanon to stay in contact with the Group’s ambassadors and send a direct message to their leaders, who are currently out of reach,” the source said.

He said that, during Monday’s meeting, the ambassadors listened to the steps that Lebanon plans to take to overcome, even if on several stages, the financial and monetary crises and stop the country from going into a complete collapse.

However, the source said Aoun spoke only about the positions announced earlier and the urge to unlock $11 billion in grants and loans that donor countries had pledged during the CEDRE conference held in Paris in April 2018, without explaining the reasons behind Lebanon’s hesitance to prepare financial and administrative reforms.

In this regard, the source asked why Aoun and Diab’s statements failed to mention the plan to rehabilitate the electricity sector.

“When the ISGL met in Paris last December, the Group stressed the need to quickly implement the electricity reform plan including governance-enhancing mechanism, through an independent regulatory body,” the source said, adding that their demand was not answered.

The political source added that the ISGL insists that helping Lebanon relies on the government’s cooperation with the International Monetary Fund.

On Monday, Diab mentioned that the government is still in discussions with the IMF and World Bank about how best to put the country on a new and sustainable financial track.

The source added that although Arab League Representative Ambassador Abdel Rahman Solh attended Monday’s meeting at the presidential palace, the role of Arab states in helping Lebanon at the economic and financial levels is still absent due to Beirut’s inability to adhere to the policy of dissociation from regional developments.

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