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French loan brings controversy
Hassan: "The loan is constitutional"
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Hassan said that she “received prior approval for signing the agreement from President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.”

The Minister said that the loan helps “achieve economic growth.” She said that its terms “do not entitle the government to any conditions. “

Hassan was defending the loan agreement after it was criticized by Ministers of Energy, Jebran Bassil and Telecom, Charbel Nahas.

The ministers say the parliament should have approved the loan prior to signing it.

They objected on the loan-terms that link the release of the tranche to the implementation of reforms that include privatizing the telecom sector and improving the electricity one. The ministers asked for the amendment of those conditions.

Hassan’s remarks came during a joint press conference with Joseph Torbey, President of the Association of Banks.

Torbey said that the loan enhances economic prosperity. “I do not think that anyone rejects a much needed- funding to implement economic projects,” he said.

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Date Posted: Dec 24, 2009