IMF urges Lebanon to break reform ‘impasse’ after Beirut port disaster

Lebanese army soldiers stand guard in front of destroyed ships at the scene where an explosion hit on Tuesday the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon. (AP)

The International Monetary Fund urged Lebanese officials on Thursday to break an “impasse” and move ahead with reforms after a massive Beirut blast cost the crisis-hit country billions in damages.

“It is essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms,” said the world body, which has been in talks with the Lebanese government since May over the country’s financial crisis.

Read more: Beirut explosion: Lebanon central bank confirms 0 pct interest loans for recovery

The talks have since hit a wall, with the IMF urging authorities “to put in place a meaningful program to turn around the economy” following Tuesday’s explosion, which it called a “disaster.”

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, in a statement, also urged the international community and friends of Lebanon “to step up to help the country.”

“The IMF is exploring all possible ways to support the people of Lebanon,” she said. “It is essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms and put in place a meaningful program to turn around the economy and build accountability and trust in the future of the country."

The Lebanese government entered talks with IMF in May after defaulting on its foreign currency debt, but the negotiations have stalled in the absence of reforms and amid a row between the government, banks and politicians over the scale of the country’s vast financial losses.

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Last Update: Thursday, 06 August 2020 KSA 19:56 - GMT 16:56
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