| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Western sources to “Sawt Beirut International”: Washington will not hand Lebanon over to Iran

Western diplomatic sources told “Sawt Beirut International” that all what Lebanon has witnessed during the past days, including the formation of the government, do not concern Washington, as it does not represent a priority on its agenda. It adds that what only concerns the US, is a number of issues, pending clarification of its policy. towards the Middle East, including Lebanon.

These issues, according to the sources, are: Washington does not want to hand Lebanon to “Hezbollah” and Iran. The Americans are concerned with the Lebanese army and support it, because to them, it represents a stabilizing factor, and represents the authority of the state, and this is what they worked on in Pakistan, where they handed over the army there, as well as in Indonesia. Therefore, any negotiation with Iran will not be at the expense of Lebanon’s interest.

What Washington wants, according to the sources, is for Lebanon to start immediate negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the need to abide by, and adhere to what the US administration considers appropriate. This means that no Lebanese team obstructs the negotiation, and no constitutional authority works on preventing the negotiation from reaching the place it should. The sources consider that negotiating with the Fund is an entry point for negotiations with international donors to support Lebanon financially, including the United States and the European Union.

According to the sources, the International Monetary Fund wants reform decisions to be taken quickly and without fragmentation, so as to give a positive impression for the external factor, in order to implement the support approved by “Sedr” conference for Lebanon. Adding that lifting subsidy is the first stage, followed by a review of the public service expenses, and the reduction of expenses as a result on the state treasury, plus electricity reform. And it does not seem that there is a grace period for Lebanon to be set by the Fund, on the contrary, what is required is speed in approving and implementing reforms on several fronts.

The Egyptian gas, according to the sources, will be paid for by the Lebanese. In addition, the Fund will negotiate with the government to disburse the amount of one billion and 135 million dollars provided by it, as for negotiations on economic measures, it will be resumed from the point at which they stopped with the previous government.