IMF official hopes Lebanon program talks can start before new year

An executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday that he hopes program negotiations with Lebanon could start before the new year to try to pull the country’s economy out of a crisis.

An IMF program is widely seen as the only way Lebanon can unlock foreign financial help which it desperately needs to emerge from one of the world’s sharpest economic depressions.

“We hope the effort being made today will lead to access to all the data and to sufficient information … all required data must be available first,” the IMF’s Mahmoud Mohieldin said in a statement.

Mohieldin’s remarks come after a meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday.

He added that any conditions the IMF would require “will not be harsher than what we see in Lebanon today.”

“I imagine that after the success of this program… the required confidence can be restored to the economy and we positively bet on the ability of the economy and Lebanese people to respond to positive signals,” Mohieldin said.

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