Lebanon's new prime minister, billionaire Najib Mikati said on Friday his government will reach out to Gulf countries for help and will begin talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mikati added that he will seek to reinstate communication with the Arab world and will speak with all Arab leaders. “We can only have excellent relations with Arab countries, and we will ask for support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to put an end to Lebanon’s freefall,” he said in an interview with Asharq News TV channel.
Gulf states have historically given financial aid to the troubled Middle Eastern country. However, GCC countries have concerns over the growing influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Mikati outlined the tasks for his government over the coming eight months: “This government has specific tasks within 4 pillars: confronting the coronavirus pandemic, dealing with the complications resulting from the explosion of the Port of Beirut, general reforms, and parliamentary elections.”
Lebanon’s leaders finally agreed on a new government led by Mikati after a vacuum that lasted for over a year, compounding the country’s economic woes amid fuel shortages, paralyzed banks and a plummeting currency.
The Middle Eastern country hit new lows with most of the population falling below the poverty line.
Talks regarding an IMF loan came to a standstill when the international organization demanded hard reforms against corruption which never materialized in the country which was in the grips of feuding factions.
“The IMF usually has a few conditions [for a rescue package]… The things the IMF will ask for have already been applied. We will then ask for the necessary help to ensure the availability of foreign cash to provide decent living standards in Lebanon,” Mikati said.