THU 9 - 4 - 2020
Date: Feb 13, 2020
Source: The Daily Star
Lebanon: Committee of experts to draw up rescue plan
Diab’s government must act quickly: French Foreign Ministry
BEIRUT: Lebanese officials Thursday agreed to form a committee that will meet with local and international experts to draw up a rescue plan.

Officials met in Baabda to discuss whether the country should pay the $1.2 billion in Eurobonds due next month.

But this decision was put off as there are several options that will be discussed with experts, including the International Monetary Fund.

Thursday's Cabinet session, headed by President Michel Aoun, was preceded by a financial meeting to discuss the matter.

Aoun also asked ministers to begin preparing the 2021 state budget, Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said to reporters.

Diab’s government must act quickly: French Foreign Ministry

BEIRUT: The French Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s Cabinet must act fast to meet the demands of the Lebanese people after Parliament’s vote of confidence Tuesday.

“It is now up to the government to act quickly to respond to the economic, social and political expectations that the Lebanese people have been expressing for several months,” a statement from the ministry said.

Diab’s government gained the confidence of a majority of MPs in a parliamentary session Tuesday. Of the 84 MPs who attended, 63 voted in favor of the government, 20 voted against and one abstained.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Downtown Beirut to block MPs’ access to Parliament and express their anger at what they see as a one-color, nontechnocratic government.

Nationwide protests against corruption, economic mismanagement and Lebanon’s sectarian political system began on Oct. 17.

France’s Foreign Ministry said it was awaiting “profound and ambitious reforms” from the Lebanese authorities, particularly related to transparency, economic sustainability and the independence of the judiciary.

"[These reforms] must be conducted in the spirit of responsibility and in the interest of all Lebanese people," the statement said.

France was one of the major donors at the 2018 CEDRE conference in Paris, at which Lebanon received pledges of more than $11 billion in soft loans and grants from the international community.

These funds, however, are dependent on the implementation of reforms.

Senate confirms new U.S. ambassador to Lebanon

BEIRUT: Washington’s new ambassador to Lebanon has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, paving the way for her to replace Elizabeth Richard at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.

Dorothy Shea, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, was confirmed Tuesday night after being nominated by U.S. President Donald Trump last October.

Richard has been posted in Lebanon since 2016.

Shea was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo after she served as the deputy principal officer at the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem as well as time at the the U.S. embassies in Tunis and Tel Aviv.

She was previously director of the Office of Assistance for Asia and the Near East in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

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