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Office of Lebanon's Finance Minister Says Talks with IMF Ongoing

Office of Lebanon's Finance Minister Says Talks with IMF Ongoing

Friday, 3 July, 2020 - 09:45
Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni. Reuters file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

Lebanon's talks with the IMF are ongoing, the office of Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said Thursday after a newspaper report that the negotiations were on hold pending the start of economic reforms and agreement on

the Lebanese side on a common approach for calculating losses.

Wazni will remain in contact with the IMF until the talks resume, the minister reportedly said in comments to a local newspaper.

"What is being worked on today is defining the losses and their size in all sectors," Wazni said. "We must come up with a unified approach agreed upon with all political forces and in coordination between the government and parliament."

"We must agree as soon as possible," he said.

After the claim that the talks were on hold, his office issued a statement saying that there are ongoing discussions with the IMF.

The Fund has asked Lebanon for a common approach on calculating losses and speeding up the required reforms, it said.

Lebanon began talks with the IMF in May, hoping to secure aid to tackle its financial crisis.

But the process got bogged down by a row over the scale of the losses that has embroiled the government, the central bank, commercial banks and MPs from Lebanon's main political parties.

A parliamentary fact-finding committee said on Wednesday losses in the system were between a quarter and half the amount set out in a government recovery plan that was submitted to the IMF.

The IMF has said the government's numbers appear to be about the right order of magnitude.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that several current and former Lebanese officials, diplomats, international officials, economists and analysts agreed that the IMF talks were going nowhere.

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