Deputy Prime Minister, Saadeh Al-Shami, participated in the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund last week in Washington.
In a statement by his media office on Sunday, it indicated that Minister Al-Shami “held extensive meetings with the various departments of the International Monetary Fund directly concerned with the agreement that took place at the staff level between Lebanon and the Fund to complete the discussion on all matters related to this program, including the technical assistance required for Lebanon to carry out the prior commitments and measures agreed upon between both parties.”
“During the meetings, the stakeholders showed great response and readiness to provide all required assistance at the technical level in order to reach a final agreement between Lebanon and the IMF,” the statement added.
“The Deputy Prime Minister also held a meeting with the Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, who showed great interest in the Lebanese situation and her willingness to help Lebanon out of its severe crisis,” the statement went on, adding that “the Fund Director emphasized that the implementation of reforms in the required time is a very necessary matter, so that the international community can help Lebanon.”
In this connection, Georgieva tweeted: “I had a good meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saadeh Al-Shami, during which we discussed the economic program that would help Lebanon out of its severe crisis. The timely implementation of the agreed reforms is vital to obtaining much-needed funding from the international community.”
Minister Al-Shami also held meetings with the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieddine, the Executive Director of the World Bank, Dr. Mirza Hassan, and the Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East, Farid Belhaj. Talks focused on the issue of the loan allocated to extracting gas from Egypt and the World Bank’s program to support the general budget, which is initially associated with the final agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
The Deputy Prime Minister also met with officials in the US Treasury and the US State Department to explain the objectives of the agreement with the International Monetary Fund and to request assistance regarding extracting gas from Egypt and the need to give the required guarantee as well as assistance from the international community to bridge the financing gap.
In this context, he also held a meeting with the European Union Commissioner for the Middle East to explore the possibility of financial assistance, as well as with the Director of the French Treasury, Emmanuel Moulin, who expressed a serious willingness to help Lebanon mobilize the necessary funding to bridge the financial gap for the next four years.
In conclusion of all his encounters, Al-Shami confirmed that he sensed “serious interest from all those he met in helping Lebanon get out of the unprecedented crisis it is experiencing, and that any assistance will be conditional on the initiation of the implementation of the prior procedures agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund and the approval of the Parliament Council on some laws, most importantly the 2022 budget law, the Capital Control Law and the required amendments to the Banking Secrecy Law, as well as the Banking Restructuring Law, which the government seeks to refer to Parliament before the upcoming elections.”
Al-Shami also stressed that “failing to implement these reforms will have negative repercussions on the current situation, while initiating said reforms will contribute to mitigating the negative repercussions of the economic and financial situation on the people, giving hope for advancement and recovery, alleviating the severity of the deep crisis and opening the doors to a better future.”