French Envoy Is Visiting Beirut This Week Over CEDRE Decisions

A French envoy is anticipated to arrive in Beirut this week in order to be briefed on the plans of Diab’s new Cabinet, which currently stands in desperate need of the international aid that was pledged at the CEDRE Donors Conference held in Paris in 2018.

CEDRE (Conférence économique pour le développement, par les réformes et avec les entreprises), was an international conference held in support of Lebanese development and reform, hosted by France on 6 April 2018.

Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Mr. Saad Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, addressed the Conference.

The conference was chaired by Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by Mr. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister for Economy and Finance.

Forty-eight countries and institutions took part in the meeting, with some representatives from the private sector and from civil society.

“Christophe Farno, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the French Foreign Ministry, is expected to arrive in Beirut soon,” a Lebanese diplomatic source in Paris told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday. Farno’s last visit to Beirut was in November 2019.

At the CEDRE conference, international donors pledged to provide Lebanon with $11 billion in loans and grants based on the sole condition that the country conducts necessary political, economic, and transparency reforms.

The CEDRE decisions list 72 reform projects for Lebanon to complete in order to receive the aid it so desperately needs.

A Lebanese government official told Asharq Al-Awsat on February 13th, 2020, that Lebanon could soon receive a French “green light” on the implementation of some of CEDRE’s projects. 

These projects were proposed by Lebanon to the conference’s Paris-based Secretariat and include major reforms to Lebanon’s electricity and roads.

The government official told the news outlet that “France is expected to release the funds for these projects following a visit by Prime Minister Hassan Diab to Paris, where he is expected to meet with President Emmanuel Macron and announce the implementation of some of the projects announced at the CEDRE conference.” 

On February 12th, 2020, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the Lebanese government needs to act rapidly in order to respond to the economic, social, and political expectations that the Lebanese people have been demanding for months now.

The Lebanese official stated that the international community “awaits the reforms that the government is expected to introduce,”  mainly reforms on economic transparency and corruption.

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