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Lebanon's Berri Calls For Declaring State of Financial Emergency

Lebanon's Berri Calls For Declaring State of Financial Emergency

Thursday, 25 June, 2020 - 06:45
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is seen at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, November 6, 2017. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Lebanon’s Speaker Nabih Berri affirmed Wednesday the necessity to declare a state of financial emergency amid the drastic plunge of the local currency's value.

"The collapse of the Lebanese Pound's exchange rate versus the US dollar, in a suspicious and coordinated way, entails the government, the central bank and the Association of Banks in Lebanon to declare a state of financial emergency and reconsider all the procedures that have been taken to protect the local currency," Berri said.

He explained that it was no longer acceptable that the Lebanese remain hostages to the black markets.

Berri's remarks came during an urgent meeting for Amal Movement's senior-ranking officials.

Early this month, Lebanon’s central bank decided to inject US dollars in the local economy in a bid to curb the local currency’s free-fall by supporting basic goods and meeting the demands of citizens.

However, this mechanism set by the central bank failed to decrease the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound and led to an additional spike of the US dollar on the black market.

On Wednesday, Lebanon's pound currency fell to new lows, trading above 6,500 to the dollar on a parallel market.

The Speaker considered that Lebanon was facing "an existential challenge," and that salvation lied within the collaboration and dialogue among all the political forces.

He also said that he feared the current scene was similar to that in 1982.

"I do not hide my concern that we are witnessing a similar juncture with the aim of bringing Lebanon down and invading the country with different weapons," Berri warned.

On the US Caesar Act, the Speaker said: "Our principal position in Amal Movement from this legislation is that of the ally who's loyal to those who stood by Lebanon and its Resistance."

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