The IMF Gives Lebanon One Last Chance

Reuters | AFP / Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

Lebanon has resumed negotiations with the International Monetary Fund “in unfavorable atmospheres for the IMF” reported Al Joumhouria on Saturday.

Indebted Lebanon is seeking billions of dollars in aid from the IMF. Despite this, the IMF accused the Lebanese government of lacking seriousness in talks with the fund.

“We have been begging them to behave like a normal state, and they are acting like they are selling us a carpet,” said a senior European diplomat to The Guardian regarding the negotiations.

Sources familiar with the negotiations told Al Joumhouria, “The way the Lebanese side deals with negotiations with the IMF will not speed up reaching an agreement for the bailout, at this rate the negotiations will take years, not several months.”

The sources added that the IMF does not want to waste time in meetings “that take place in a vicious circle” and urged that the Lebanese side submit a unified number of losses to continue the talks, according to the newspaper.

“The Lebanese side should consider that this is its last chance to resolve its position and adopt the scientific and accurate approach in everything that is proposed,” they stated. “Otherwise, the IMF will have no choice but to suspend negotiations, if not to stop them.”

The IMF’s main issue, so far, is that the Lebanese government and the Central Bank are in a dispute regarding the accurate number of losses, with the state reportedly exaggerating the figures.

“Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh accused the government of over-calculating the losses in its economic recovery plan, which has been presented to the IMF as the basis of negotiations,” stated The Daily Star.

Lebanese held a meeting with the IMF on Friday and more talks are expected next week according to Reuters.

At this point in which Lebanon is spiraling out of control, and hopelessness is taking over, the Lebanese people are holding to a shred of hope that the government gets its act together to hold constructive talks that could save the country from its despair.