Talks with IMF started and
will continue in coming days
International Support Group urges the
government to engage the people in consultations
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) separately, announced that they have started discussions about a potential IMF program to assist Lebanon.
The talks are being conducted via videoconferencing.
“The aim is to reach a comprehensive framework that can help Lebanon address the current challenging economic and social conditions and restore sustainability and growth,” said an IMF spokesperson. “The discussions will continue in the coming days,” she said.
“We are comfortable with the atmosphere of these initial discussions, and we expect the upcoming discussions to be equally constructive,” said a statement by the MoF.
The Lebanese side is represented by 13 people: the Minister of Finance (Ghazi Wazni), the Director General of Finance (Alain Bifani), and two advisors (Henri Chaoul and Talal Salman), as well as six senior directors from the Central Bank (Raja Abou Asli, Carine Chartouni, Youssef El Khalil, Mohamed Ali Hassan, Choucri Mouanes, and Rudolph Moussa). The Central Bank is the official representative of the country at the IMF. Advisors of the President (Charbel Cordahi) and the Prime Minister (Georges Chalhoub and Leila Dagher) are also present at the discussions.
The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) said in a statement that the decision to apply for an IMF program was “a first step in the right direction.”
The ISG encourages the government to engage all relevant stakeholders, most importantly the Lebanese people, in consultations on the contents of the plan and on ways to expedite its implementation.
ISG has also reiterated its strong support for the stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Lebanon and for non-interference into its internal affairs in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006), and 1559 (2004).
ISG is comprised of a number of donor countries and international organizations including the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, as well as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Arab League.
ISG FULL TEXT
The ISG takes due note of the unanimous adoption by the Government of Lebanon of its Financial Recovery Plan as a constructive framework for future reforms as well as its decision to request an IMF program as a first step in the right direction.
The ISG also takes due note of the assessment by the World Bank that the Plan recognizes the nature and depth of the crisis, the necessary structural reforms and adjustments needed to ensure a vibrant economy with sustainable growth and productive sectors, in a business climate and conditions favorable for private sector development and the prosperity of the Lebanese people.
Recognizing the importance of domestic political support necessary for successful conduct and rapid completion of negotiations with the IMF, the ISG encourages the Government of Lebanon to engage all relevant stakeholders, most importantly the Lebanese people in consultations on the contents of the plan and ways to expedite its implementation.
Equally, the ISG encourages the Government and Parliament to work together in creating the necessary conditions for timely implementation of the needed reforms and to ensure full transparency and accountability as demanded by the citizens of Lebanon.
Recalling the statement of the International Support Group meeting in Paris on 11 December 2019 and on the basis of the necessary reforms, including the implementation of the commitments made in the framework of the CEDRE Conference, the ISG expresses support to Lebanon to help it overcome the current economic, monetary, and fiscal crisis and to address economic, social, security, humanitarian challenges, as well as the impact of COVID-19 facing the country, and calls upon the international community, including international organizations and financial institutions, to support Lebanon as it seeks to address the current crisis.
The ISG notes with concern the worsening economic situation, the growing poverty and the hardships on the population. It encourages the Government to remain committed to protect the rapidly growing number of poor and vulnerable segments of the population and encourages the Government to quickly finalize all necessary measures to unlock additional external financial assistance to address the increasingly dire humanitarian needs of the population.
The ISG reaffirms the need for internal stability and the right to peaceful protest to be protected.
The ISG welcomes the press elements from the Security Council following its meeting on 4 May 2020 on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 and reiterates its strong support for Lebanon and its people, for its stability, security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, political independence and non-interference into internal matters in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1701 (2006), 1680 (2006), and 1559 (2004).
Date Posted: May 14, 2020