Lebanon’s Banking Association Might Withdraw From Financial Plan Talks

Lebanon's Banking Association Might Withdraw From Recovery Plan Talks

The Association of Banks in Lebanon said that it might withdraw from talks regarding the country’s financial recovery plan.

Media agencies reported on Thursday that the Association was considering pulling out of the ongoing negotiations with the Lebanese Finance Ministry and the government’s financial advisor, Lazard.

Later, the Association issued a statement clarifying that it “did not issue any press release or official statement that denies the news that some media circulated about the Association’s tendency to withdraw from the ongoing negotiations with the Ministry of Finance and the consultant Lazard.”

It expressed “regret and disapproval” regarding the atmosphere that prevailed during the meeting at the Finance Ministry on Thursday, which it said, “brought matters back to square one.”

The said atmosphere “does not encourage moving forward towards the agreement of the parties concerned on a unified and effective perception of possible exits from the current crisis,” the statement explained.

Notably, as reported by Reuters, the Association had issued an almost identical statement prior to this one, in which it additionally declared: “Not continuing the negotiations on the part of the banking association is a possibility.”

The banking association’s ongoing negotiations with the Finance Ministry and Lazard aim to reach a final agreement over Lebanon’s financial recovery plan.

The talks were encouraged by Lazard to attempt to progress Lebanon’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have been tangled due to a disagreement related to the magnitude of the country’s financial losses.

On a similar note, the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian landed in Beirut this week to address Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis and to urge its officials to implement serious reforms in order to unlock financial support.