The French envoy, Coordinator of International Aid for Lebanon, Ambassador Pierre Duquesne’s visit to Beirut next week, aims to follow up on the ongoing discussions between the Lebanese and French authorities on the reforms that Lebanon should undertake, according to French diplomatic sources. Duquesne will explore the unified and integrated Lebanese position with regard to this file.
Internal and international eyes are watching whether Lebanon will succeed in negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or whether the government formation mechanism and the politicization of files will negatively affect these talks, and will lead to difficulties in rescuing the country.
Prominent diplomatic sources told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) that Duquesne is the most experienced French official in Lebanese political and economic affairs. He is familiar with all the projects and plans proposed during “CEDRE” conference in 2018, until now, including Lebanon’s needs for power, the body that regulates this service, the “bad” banking plan that has been put in place, and the laws to reform them all.
Several months ago, Duquesne warned that the exchange rate of the dollar would rise if reforms were not implemented, and this is what happened.
The sources confirm that Duquesne will take advantage of the foreign political atmosphere that accompanied the government formation, to press for any Lebanese party not to obstruct the path of reforms. There are theories of the controlling parties in Lebanon about the dangers of dealing with the IMF. But with the US and French pressures, it will not be able to stand against this trend. Let it be known that all the major international financial organizations are very close to Washington and are affected by its position.
The sources revealed that some factors have arisen related to IMF’s performance in dealing with crises in countries in dire need for help, especially that many of them considered its intervention not easy and painful because of the austerity plans it requested that would be reflected in people’s lives. It can be said that there is no escape from dealing with IMF. Moreover, the Fund was able recently to improve its performance, after realizing that it cannot apply theoretical plans to all countries equally. After the Greek experience, IMF followed the principle that the plans should be adapted to the conditions of each country. The Turks had a painful experience with the fund, and they say that they should be careful that Lebanon fulfill its interests in relation to the fund’s requests. The Turks withdrew from negotiations with the Fund and implemented their plans.
The IMF has come to realize that it cannot give the same “antibiotic” recipe to all countries. There are countries whose situation is improving as a result of the prescription, and there are countries whose situation is not improving. Therefore, it is expected that the Fund’s recommendations will be adapted to the needs and capacity of each country, and this will be applied with Lebanon.
This new factor did not exist with the Greek crisis. The sources confirmed that despite the care and interest of some countries in the Lebanese situation, they still have other priorities. This is what the Lebanese government must realize, as they are supposed to work for the country. Negotiating with the IMF, if it succeeds, means that Lebanon will get the “seal” of this fund, which will form a bridge to the large international financial funds, especially European ones, including investment funds, which will start providing long-term loans to Lebanon with a value worth billions of dollars and likely to reach $7 billion.