French Foreign Minister in Lebanon mired in an economic crisis


French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian begins Thursday a two-day visit to Lebanon, the first by a senior foreign official in months to visit the country, which is suffering from an economic crisis, and hopes for an international rescue plan.
Ludryan is scheduled to meet Lebanese President Michel Aoun, before holding a meeting with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, according to the French embassy.He is expected to make statements to the media in the afternoon after his upcoming meeting with his Lebanese counterpart Nassif Hitti.

Lebanon is suffering from the worst economic crisis in decades, which witnessed a significant decline in the value of the lira and massive inflation that pushed about half of the population into poverty.

The crisis has sparked widespread demonstrations since last October against the political elite accused of corruption and incompetence, while thousands of residents lost their jobs or part of their income.

After Lebanon first defaulted on its debts in March, the government pledged reforms and launched talks two months ago with the International Monetary Fund to get billions of dollars in aid. But the talks have not made any progress yet.

Earlier this month, Ludrian expressed his “deep concern” that Beirut was late in making progress in reform, on the condition of any foreign financial aid.

He said: “The Lebanese authorities have to regain control … We are really ready to help you, but help us to help you.”

Lebanon aspires to obtain external support of more than 20 billion dollars, including 11 billion approved by the “Cedar” conference in Paris in 2018, provided that reforms are implemented.


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