Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Friday, July 24, 2020 11:43:01 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

French foreign minister in Lebanon

No reform? No aid

photo by

Lebanese President Michel Aoun receives France\'s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Baabda Palace in Beirut

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Al Jazeera News :
Beirut, Lebanon - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said Lebanese politicians are preventing the disbursal of much-needed aid to the crisis-hit country by failing to implement solutions "that have already been known for a long time".
"France is ready to fully mobilise alongside Lebanon and to mobilise all of its partners, but this requires serious and credible reform measures to be implemented. Concrete actions are long-overdue," Le Drian said during a joint news conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti on Thursday.
In Beirut on a two-day official visit, Le Drian likened potential French and international aid to Lebanon to divine intervention.
"You may be familiar with the French expression, 'help yourself and God will help you.' What I want to say to officials in Lebanon today is: 'Help yourself and France and its partners will help you'," he said.
The international community has over the last 20 years pledged nearly $24bn to Lebanon for economic aid and development projects at four donor conferences.
The most recent conference in 2018 saw pledges of $11bn, conditional on reforms to the country's ailing electricity sector, modernising laws and reducing the country's public debt.
Little progress was made and Lebanon is now sinking into a deep crisis characterised by currency depreciation, steep inflation, rising poverty, unemployment and growing instability.
The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, appointed by the country's establishment after a massive anti-government uprising toppled his predecessor in October, is seeking some $20bn in aid - half from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and half from international donors rallied by France.
But the government has faltered with little popular support and negotiations with the IMF have been impeded by disagreements and political bickering.
Protesters "took to the streets to mark the thirst for change, to mark the desire for transparency, the fight against corruption, and better governance of a whole people. Unfortunately, this appeal has so far not been heard," Le Drian said.
'No alternative to the IMF'
Topping the list of France's demands - which Le Drian noted "are primarily those of the Lebanese" - are four measures: The resumption negotiations with the IMF - put on hold earlier this month due to a lack of unity on the Lebanese side; an audit of the Central Bank's accounts; a law organising capital controls and reform to the country's crippled electricity sector, which has bled some $47bn since the early 1990s.
Lebanon bread price rises for the first time in 10 years (2:41)
"Let's not kid ourselves, there is no alternative to an IMF programme to enable Lebanon to emerge from the crisis," he said.
"I am also thinking of the reform of the electricity sector, which is an emblematic project. I want to say it clearly, what has been done so far in this area is hardly encouraging."
"What has to be done is clear - there is nothing to add to [Le Drian's] words," French diplomat Pierre Duquesne, who oversaw the 2018 CEDRE donor conference, told Al Jazeera.
Similar words were echoed by French Ambassador Bruno Foucher in a tweet: "France will act if Lebanon acts! There is nothing more to say."
Diab raises reforms, refugees
Sporting a face-mask bearing both the French and Lebanese flags, Le Drian visited Lebanon's governing troika - President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Diab.
A source close to Diab told Al Jazeera the prime minister had asked Le Drian for France's help with IMF negotiations and with revamping the electricity sector.
Lebanese accused of financing Hezbollah returns home (2:39)
Diab noted a number of reforms by the government, including steps to combat cross-border smuggling with Syria with the installation of scanners, and the cabinet's approval earlier this week of a forensic audit for the central bank's accounts.
He also raised the issue of the presence of more than one million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, whose cabinet recently endorsed a plan to return refugees to Syria. A number of prominent politicians have long blamed their presence for many of the country's issues, despite most of those issues pre-existing the influx of refugees in 2011.
"Host communities are beginning to feel anxieties about the presence of the displaced and the displaced are beginning to feel uncomfortable, which is dangerous," Diab told Le Drian, according to the source.
Small-scale aid
Far from carrying a credit line or new aid package, Le Drian announced that humanitarian assistance to Lebanon would amount to 50 million euros ($58m) for the year 2020, including support for public services like healthcare. But it was up to Lebanese authorities "to put in place social safety nets ... which do not yet exist".
He said France would also roll out support to families of 1,000 children who study at 52 French-speaking schools in the country. Private schools in Lebanon are facing a severe crisis as the economic collapse pushes families to enrol their children in cheaper public schools.
France's top diplomat also promised to continue aid to the Lebanese army, "the backbone of this state, and the security forces as a whole, which play a crucial role in ensuring the stability and security of the country."

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Mayors must come out of state corruption system to improve city life

The overwhelming problem with public officials is they are concerned with generally thinking of ways of making money. The whole idea of holding public positions enjoying special facilities at public cost to serve the people has almost disappeared. Officials in public positions are exploiting the public. This kind of thinking ...

International »

In another night of unrest in Portland, tear gas hits mayor

Reuters :The mayor of the US city of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was stung by tear gas early on Thursday morning after he joined demonstrators protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.Protests have rocked Portland every night for weeks, with security forces often tear-gassing and clubbing demonstrators.Visiting the protest site, Wheeler ...

City »

CID and Cyber police nab five persons involved in question paper leakage of Government Medical , Dental and Armed Forces Medical Colleges conducting raid at different parts of the city's Mirpur on Thursday.


Entertainment »

Taapsee Pannu shares her looks from her school time

Taapsee Pannu is known for her outspoken attitude and that is one thing which makes her different from others. The actress regularly shares her opinions on on-going controversies and also keeps on updating her fans with her throwback pictures too. Recently, Taapsee shared a picture from her school days when ...

Editorial »

We have every reason to be cautious about Chinese experimental tests

 A REPORT in a national daily on Wednesday said a move by a Chinese pharmaceutical company - Sinvac, to conduct the third and final phase of clinical trial of a Covid-19 vaccine in Bangladesh lacks clarity and is causing widespread confusion.  Health Ministry has not taken any decision yet. Time ...

City »

Chairman of Fakirhat Upazila Parishad Swapan Das, among others, at the tree plantation programme organised by Fakirhat Upazila Family Planning Office on Wednesday marking the Mujib Year.


Sports »

Serena Williams` daughter Olympia becomes youngest pro sports team owner

Agency :Serena Williams and her two-year old Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. are officially co-owners of a new Los Angeles-based women's football team called Angel City.Olympia, who keeps appearing in her mother's social media accounts, becomes the youngest person to own a Pro Soccer team. Williams and her daughter joined a ...

Entertainment »

Sonakshi Sinha`s killer look with catty goggles

Post her stint in her debut Bollywood movie Dabangg, Sonakshi Sinha has earned a huge fan following and after that, she got the break in so many movies with various actors. Now, she is one of the well-paid and well-known actresses. Recently, Sonakshi shared a classy white look with catty ...

Editorial »

FDI to help RMGs to cope with Covid-19

BANGLADESH should allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the apparel sector to help the industry endure the Covid-19 crisis, analysts and businesspeople said on Monday, as per a local daily reports. They also said that over-concentration on cotton rather than manmade fibre (MMF) for making clothes is stymieing the growth ...

City »

Shahadat Hossain Munna, Vice-Chairman of Shristy Human Rights Society distributes foodstuff among the flood-hit people at Daripur of Shibchar in Madaripur district on Tuesday.

Entertainment »

Aupee Karim’s film selected for Shanghai Festival

Entertainment Report :Popular actress Aupee Karim starrer Debris of Desire (Mayar Jonjal) has been officially selected at the 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival in the Asian New Talent Award category. All films, previously shortlisted for the Asian New Talent Award, have been announced as Asian New Talent Award Official Selection ...

Football »

Historic Ronaldo puts Juve on brink of ninth straight Serie A title

AFP, Turin :Cristiano Ronaldo put Juventus on the brink of a ninth consecutive Italian league title on Monday after he scored twice in a 2-1 win over Lazio to become the first player to hit 50 goals in Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League.Juventus ended a three-match winless ...

Cricket »

Mushfiqur carries on his individual training despite inclement weather

Sports Reporter :Wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim continued his individual training despite inclement weather. Mushfiqur Rahim began his training on Sunday at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) Ground, which is adjacent to the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium (SBNCS) in Mirpur. 'Mr Dependable' took part in his lone practice session though the field ...

Editorial »

Health Ministry can't be run by RAB or mobile court

It is such a frustrating disappointment to the people that because of the government organised corruption the hospitals cannot be trusted for coronavirus testing or treatment. If RAB and mobile courts have to raid hospitals to find irregularities in hospitals then there will be none not suffering from irregularities of ...

Sports »

It's really good to hit the ball after four months: Imrul Kayes

BSS, Dhaka :Opener Imrul Kayes expressed his satisfaction after doing some batting practice at indoor facilities of the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur on Monday.Cricketers made their long awaited return to the cricket field on Sunday to bring an end to the country's four-month-long cricketing shutdown but Kayes was ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news