After the visit to Paris, and President Najib Mikati’s meeting at the Elysee with President Emmanuel Macron, the “solidarity visit” by Jordan’s Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh to Lebanon, starting last Wednesday, recorded a significant point, in terms of breaking the “cordon of isolation” from the country, and extending it to Lebanon Aid is available, and the door is opened for it to get out of the situation of suffocation, sanctions and siege, whether with regard to benefiting from the electricity draw from Jordan or benefiting from Egyptian gas to increase the production of factories that still generate electricity in Lebanon, and ending the movement of land transport with regard to Lebanese agricultural exports to the Arab countries.
As President Mikati revealed a bilateral meeting, which was held between Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayyad and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati to discuss logistical arrangements and address problems in order to expedite the importation of electricity from Jordan and the import of Egyptian gas that will pass through Jordan and Syria, the Jordanian guest affirmed the Kingdom’s commitment Hashemite “by supporting Lebanon’s stability and restoring its renaissance and facilitating our brothers and our people in Lebanon.”
Political sources described the visit of the Jordanian Prime Minister to Beirut, immediately after the formation of the new government, as important in this particular circumstance, because it reflects the seriousness of the Jordanian King Abdullah II, in caring for Lebanon, and working with all available capabilities, to extend a helping hand, and mobilize all the Kingdom’s relations with abroad, to enable him to overcome difficult circumstances and solve the crises he faces.
The sources indicated that the research of the visit focused on facilitating and accelerating the pace of importing Egyptian gas through Jordanian territory, as well as working to provide Lebanon with the largest possible amount of electrical energy from Jordan or through the Egyptian electricity interconnection project, as well as facilitating the transfer of Lebanese products, through points Crossing the Syrian-Jordanian border to the Arab Gulf states. The Jordanian Prime Minister has expressed every readiness to create conditions to facilitate Jordan’s assistance to Lebanon.
The research also dealt with expanding the range of exceptions from Caesar’s law, which the Jordanian side can persuade the American administration to allow, in order to work according to it to respond to Lebanon’s demands, in issues and issues that go beyond electricity and gas to trade exchange and mutual cooperation between the two countries.
On the other hand, the sources revealed efforts by the Jordanian monarch, in coordination with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to arrange a tripartite conference with Lebanon in Cairo soon, to mobilize the Arab support needed to help Lebanon and get it out of its ordeal, and the contacts are still in their infancy in this regard, and may expand To include other countries, if circumstances permit.
Governance and government
Thus, the government and the government continued to rush to achieve some quick achievements, especially the start of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the unification of the governmental and financial vision before the Fund, while obtaining Arab support represented by financial support.
President Al-Khasawneh toured the three presidents, offering assistance, especially in the field of electricity. Aoun welcomed the reopening of the Jaber crossing between Jordan and Syria, and hoped that all necessary facilities would be provided to Lebanese trucks transporting Lebanese agricultural production by land to some Gulf countries.
After his meeting with the President of the Republic, President Al-Khasawneh said: I expressed to President Aoun Jordan’s readiness to stand by Lebanon and its needs, and stressed that Jordanian ministers will cooperate with their Lebanese counterparts, especially in the field of energy.
He added: Lebanon has given a lot to its Arab surroundings, and we owe it to it to stand by its side in these difficult days. Noting that “President Aoun carried him a written message to His Majesty King Abdullah II.”
Al-Khasawneh had visited Ain al-Tineh and the government palaces, where a bilateral and then joint meeting was held between the Jordanian ministerial delegation, which included Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Al-Safadi, Minister of State for Prime Minister Affairs Ibrahim Al-Jazi, Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply Maha Al-Ali, and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Hala Zawati and Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Hadid.
On the Lebanese side, attended by: Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Al-Shami, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Abdullah Bou Habib, Minister of Defense Maurice Selim, Minister of Industry George Boushekian, Minister Fayyad, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam and Secretary-General of the Council of Ministers Judge Mahmoud Makiya.
The Lebanese and Jordanian ministers also held side work meetings, within the framework of discussing the existing cooperation files and those that are under preparation in all fields.
After the meeting, President Mikati confirmed that “the bilateral relations were discussed, especially with regard to the issue of energy and the import of electricity from Jordan and Egyptian gas.” He said: We talked about the Jordanian-Lebanese joint committee, which has not held a meeting since 2015, and we have many agreements ready to sign. The Joint Supreme Council, and promised a meeting soon, but we do not want the agreements to be sham, but to be practical and beneficial to the two peoples and to bear fruit in terms of consolidating relations between Lebanon and Jordan and their peoples.
For his part, the Jordanian Prime Minister affirmed, “We have an interest in supporting Lebanon and maintaining its stability, and we will not delay in securing its needs.” We have presented some agreements that require ratification and will not go into the details associated with them.
He continued: We once again declare our solidarity with Lebanon, and the United Nations stresses the concern for brotherly Lebanon, and that the Lebanese needs and requirements to ensure stability are always at the forefront of all the King’s meetings, and we pray to God to preserve and protect Lebanon, its people and its institutions and grant you security and stability and always solidarity, security and love.
In response to a question about the impact of the US “Caesar Act” sanctions on Lebanon’s support through Syria, he stressed that “Jordan has no differences with anyone and we have always been and still are governed by relations with our brothers, and today we have approaches related to securing the needs of the Lebanese, and we are committed to coordination with all parties.” And countries that are able to secure the Lebanese needs within the framework of the existing international consensus.”
negotiating with the fund
In addition, it is expected that the negotiation will take some time and that inquiries will arise, especially since the negotiation was suspended for a period of time.
Well-informed political sources told the “Liwaa” that the issue of negotiation with the International Monetary Fund is a focus of common interest from the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, who agreed to delegate the Lebanese delegation, and indicated that there is a road map that is being worked on, and that the details that have been prepared are now clear, and there is an insistence on speeding up and presenting The necessary requirements in order to secure liquidity in currencies.
The sources said that the biggest challenge is to unify the numbers, and made it clear that the conditions of the Fund are known and related to public finance reform, reform and the unification of the exchange rate, stressing that the decision belongs to the Council of Ministers as a whole, especially with regard to the issue of obligations.
He understood that Lazard would assist Lebanon in aid programs through an integrated plan, according to specific priorities.
Well-informed sources criticized the statement that the President of the Republic gave directives to begin its work, and this matter is contrary to the Constitution, as the work of the company requires a decision from the Council of Ministers.
Lazard’s delegation included: Francois Khayat, Xavier Attia, and Thomas Lambert, and presented with them the necessity of completing their advisory mission to the Lebanese state in preparation for negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in order to advance the Lebanese economy. During the meeting, President Aoun stressed “the necessity of reviewing the economic recovery plan prepared by the previous government as a result of the change that took place in the numbers for more than a year until today, and unifying these numbers, so that Lebanon’s position would be strong during the negotiations.” The delegation members thanked President Aoun for the trust that the Lebanese state had placed in LAZARD, stressing their “commitment to complete the task entrusted to them, and the importance of unifying numbers, proceeding with reforms, and setting a plan to restructure the banking sector.”
Government sources told Al-Liwaa that Lazard’s delegation will accompany the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, according to what the Lebanese state is offering it to, and provide its advice to benefit the Lebanese interest in negotiating, and it will not be participating in the negotiations.
In this context, a decision was officially issued yesterday to form a committee to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, and the text of the decision stated: “Based on the directives of the President of the Republic, and since Lebanon had to complete negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in conjunction with the development and implementation of a financial and economic recovery plan, therefore, and building Based on the above, and on the consensus between the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic authorizes the delegation referred to below to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund: Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Al-Shami, Minister of Finance Yousef Al-Khalil, Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam, and Governor of the Bank Lebanon, Riad Salameh, provided that the delegation includes ministers and the assistance of experts from the specialists, according to the topics or files raised in the negotiation process.
The “Liwaa” learned that the Minister of Social Affairs, Hector Hajjar, will be among the delegation when raising the issue of social living and ways to finance the financial card and help the poorest families. Other ministers, such as administrative development and environment, may also join, according to the requirements of negotiation and the urgent projects that will be worked on.
Political sources noted that the official decision to form a ministerial and official negotiating committee with the International Monetary Fund avoided naming an advisor to the President of the Republic or others as he promoted, which means, in practice, that the participation of any advisor, whether to the President of the Republic or others, will not be binding, but rather a matter of forming attendance And even more, while the participation of the members mentioned, it is necessary to deal with them, and their suggestions and observations are taken into account.
The financing card mechanism
In the same context, President Mikati chaired a meeting related to the financing card, in which Ministers of Social Affairs Hector El Hajjar and Minister of Economy and Trade Amin Salam participated. At the conclusion of the meeting, President Mikati and Ministers Hajjar and Salam signed a “decision to define the mechanism and criteria for implementing the law related to the electronic financing card and to open an exceptional additional appropriation for its financing.”
Hajjar said in a statement: The ministerial committee on the issue of the financing card has completed its work and signed the decision. We have completed a stage and we have to complete other stages to reach the start of registration on the platform, and a press conference will be held at a later time to explain all the details.”
As for Salam, he said: We have taken this important decision, after it was delaying the issue of the financing card, and our first goal was to sign this decision to implement the mechanism, and we were keen to overcome all obstacles as soon as possible, because the citizen and public opinion are waiting for this matter, and we have some The technical stages that we will work on in the coming days to reach the implementation stage.
He added: Funding will be available, and as for the mechanism for its implementation between the Banque du Liban and the World Bank, we will leave the discussion about it to the Minister of Finance, with a tendency to pay according to an exchange platform, because the Lebanese state can only pay within the framework of the official price, not the black market price.