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PM Says Lebanon Economy Needs Urgent 'Surgery' but Remains Optimistic

PM Says Lebanon Economy Needs Urgent 'Surgery' but Remains Optimistic

Sunday, 10 February, 2019 - 19:00
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (R), speaks with journalist Emad el-Din Adeeb, during the opening session of the World Government Summit in Dubai, on February 10, 2019. Dalati and Nohra photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanon's economy needs urgent "surgery" or it could collapse, Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned on Sunday, though he also tried to reassure foreign donors that politicians remained fully united behind reforms agreed with them at the Cedre conference in Paris last April.

After nine months of wrangling over cabinet portfolios, Lebanon's government was finally formed 10 days ago.

The heavily-indebted country has said it will enact long-overdue reforms to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions.

"Today in Lebanon we don't have time for luxury in politics because our economy could be subjected to collapse, if we do not carry out this surgery quickly and with (political) unanimity," Hariri told the World Government Summit in Dubai.

International donor institutions and foreign governments want to see the new government enact reforms before releasing some $11 billion in financial assistance pledged at the Paris conference.

"I tell you there is political unanimity in Lebanon on all the reforms that happened at Cedre and there is political consensus to fight corruption," he said.

“Battling corruption will be one of the most difficult things we will face in Lebanon, but since there is political consensus, it will make it easier for the Lebanese.”

While in the United Arab Emirates, Hariri met Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and other Emirati officials.

Separately, Hariri met the International Monetary Fund's Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

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