Beirut – On Friday, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati reiterated that he will work to restore his country’s severed relations with the Arabs, stressing that his government will take all necessary steps to restore the connection of those cut off in Lebanon’s relations with the brotherly Arab countries.
In an interview from his home in Tripoli with popular figures and delegations, he pointed out the importance of openness to Arab countries and other friends, considering that “Lebanon today is in dire need for everyone to stand by it.”
He also believed that the government must work to hold the parliamentary elections on time, in order to preserve institutions and respect the constitution.
In addition, he pointed out that Lebanon is going through the most difficult stage in its history, stressing that the imminent challenges are great for it.
He considered that Lebanon should distance itself and build good relations with the international community and Arab countries.
He stressed that he will not expose Lebanon’s interest to any risks and will not take any action that is not acceptable to the international community.
It is noteworthy that on the twenty-second of last October, Saad Hariri was assigned to form a new government in Lebanon, but he apologized for the task on the fifteenth of last July, after disagreements between him and Aoun.
On the twenty-sixth of last July, Najib Mikati, who headed two governments in 2005 and 2011, was assigned to form a new government.
It is noteworthy that the Mikati government is facing great challenges in the face of the catastrophic situation in Lebanon, in light of the financial and economic crisis, the results of which affected all the medical, hospital, and educational sectors, as well as the sectors of fuel, electricity, communications, and ovens.
As part of its efforts to develop a rescue plan that would put an end to an accelerating economic collapse that has ravaged the country for two years, the Lebanese authorities announced Thursday the formation of a delegation to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, in preparation for the resumption of negotiations on a rescue plan.
A statement issued by Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s office stated that “when Lebanon had to complete negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in conjunction with the development and implementation of a financial and economic recovery plan,” President Michel Aoun delegated a delegation to “negotiate with the International Monetary Fund.”
The delegation includes, according to the decision, Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Al-Shami, Minister of Finance Youssef Al-Khalil, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam, and Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salameh, provided that “it will seek the assistance of experts from the specialists according to the topics or files raised in the negotiation process.”
The economic collapse, which the World Bank has ranked among the worst in the world since 1850, drained the reserves of the Banque du Liban, caused the Lebanese pound to lose more than 90 percent of its value, and put 78 percent of the Lebanese under the poverty line, amid the emigration of thousands of the able and affluent.
After its failure in March 2020 to pay Lebanon’s foreign debts, the previous government headed by Hassan Diab began negotiations with the IMF based on an economic rescue plan it had set, which included reforming several sectors, including the worn-out electricity sector and the banking sector, and conducting a criminal audit of Banque du Liban’s accounts.
After holding 17 sessions, the IMF suspended negotiations, pending the unification of the Lebanese negotiators, especially the representatives of the government and the Banque du Liban, their estimates of the size of the financial losses on the basis of which the support program will be built, and how to put the reforms into effect.
Lebanon asked Lazar International Consulting Company, a delegation of which is visiting Lebanon on Thursday, to review the recovery plan that it had developed with the Diab government, in preparation for resuming negotiations with the Fund.
During his meeting with a delegation from the company on Thursday, Aoun stressed the need to review the economic recovery plan prepared by the previous government as a result of the change in the numbers more than a year ago until today, and to unify these numbers, so that Lebanon’s position will be strong during the negotiations.