Lebanon needs foreign support, decision on Eurobond: New finance minister

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Lebanon’s new government needs foreign support to help it rescue the country from an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, the finance minister said on Wednesday hours after he was named.

The government must make a decision on a $1.2 billion Eurobond maturing in March, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni also told local broadcaster al-Jadeed.

He said the Cabinet has to restore confidence because the country was in a state of collapse.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab vowed that his newly-unveiled government would strive to meet the demands of a three-month-old protest movement demanding radical change.

One of the government’s first tasks will be to decide its approach to looming sovereign bond repayments, including a $1.2 billion Eurobond maturing in March.

Lebanon’s union of exchange dealers said on Tuesday it had decided to set the exchange rate at a maximum of 2,000 pounds to the US dollar in agreement with the central bank governor.

The pound has been officially pegged at 1,507.50 to the dollar for more than two decades. Diab expressed hope that the currency would strengthen.

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