| 26 September 2022, Monday |

“Shiite duo” veto disrupts government’s work, threatens IMF negotiations

In a country that has failed on all levels, rescuing it from the impending death demands night and day efforts from those who donated to play the role of savior, promising the Lebanese salvation and encouraging them to rely on them.

The government responsible for finding solutions to Lebanon’s dire crises, has not met for days, and it may not meet again due to the Shiite duo’s veto, while its ministers and committees hold many meetings in the mean time. As for the most important committee whose work will constitute the cornerstone of the recovery plan, holding negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, has not yet met.

In the midst of this tense and unsettling atmosphere, Mahmoud Mohieldin, the Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, who represents a group of Arab countries, including Lebanon, on the Fund’s Executive Board, arrived in Lebanon for a visit aimed at discussing the priorities of senior Lebanese officials in the social, humanitarian, economic, and financial fields in the context of the recovery plan.

Mohieldin met with President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and his agenda initially includes the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Negotiating Committee with the International Monetary Fund, His Excellency Al-Shami, Minister of Finance Youssef Al-Khalil, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam, Minister of Energy Walid Fayyad, and Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salameh.

“The existence of a government with full powers is a prerequisite for starting negotiations between Lebanon and the IMF,” Mohieldin said in an interview with “Middle East News Agency” before his arrival in Beirut, adding that “reaching an agreement between the Lebanese state and the Fund means Lebanon acquiring funding, and it opens the door to obtain other funding from international bodies and institutions, and it restores confidence in the Lebanese government.”

President Aoun assured Dr. Mohieldin that “Lebanon is keen on cooperating with the Fund and reaching an agreement with it as soon as possible on the basis of updating and developing the financial, monetary and banking recovery plan, implementing an integrated program for social protection and health care, and approving anti-corruption laws”.

During the meeting, the road map that will be developed for Lebanon’s interaction with the International Monetary Fund in the next stage, and the need to expedite the delivery of the Fund’s team all the necessary financial data to prepare the file in preparation for the necessary negotiations were tackled.

President Aoun also thanked Dr. Mohieldin for the interest shown by the IMF towards Lebanon, stressing work to accomplish what is required from the concerned Lebanese authorities to speed up the negotiation process.

After the meeting, Dr. Mohieldin stated that he addressed the existing cooperation between the Lebanese state and the International Monetary Fund, especially on issues related to public administration, reforms, the banking sector, and issues related to governance, transparency, and structural reforms in the Lebanese economy.

In addition, Mohieldin pointed out that with the existence of a new government with full powers, it will be possible to complete negotiations between Lebanon and the Fund, and with ministers in the government, concerned with cooperating with the Central Bank, to convey the full picture to the Fund’s experts to move the negotiation path forward, which aims to advance the Lebanese economy and restore confidence in it.

  • Sawt Beirut International