IMF will only support a ‘comprehensive program’ for Lebanon: Georgieva

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IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday the fund would only support a “comprehensive program” for Lebanon that would tackle all the country's ills, including corruption.

“Our team is working very closely with their Lebanese counterparts,” Georgieva told reporters. “We are stressing that it has to be a comprehensive program.”

Lebanese officials began talks with the IMF last month to pull the Middle Eastern country out of the worst economic crisis in its history.

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Georgieva called Lebanon's circumstances “very, very dire,” and said “it has been so for a long time, and short of a strong government commitment to change the course of the country, the suffering of the Lebanese people would continue.”

She said the Washington-based crisis lender was negotiating over a budget proposal that would address Lebanon's banking sector and “reforms that the country needs including more transparency for what the government does.”

Lebanon defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2020, a first in its history.

Its currency has lost about 90 percent of its value on the black market and four out of five Lebanese now live below the poverty line, according to the United Nations, a situation made worse by triple-digit inflation.

Despite the economic collapse, the country's ruling class has blocked reforms that foreign donors say must happen before aid is dispensed.

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