Lebanon Still Undecided On Its Delegation To The Urgent ISG Meeting

The government has not yet reached an agreement. They keep postponing the formation of a new government. They are unable to decide on a Prime Minister. After more than 50 days the Lebanese government is still trying to manipulate the Lebanese people.

The economy is plummeting, the Lebanese pound to dollar exchange rate has passed 2,500 LBP and it is still rising. Lebanon is now going through an economic and financial crisis worse than the one of the 1975-1990 civil war.

The appeal for aid issued by caretaker Hariri was addressed to Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, China, Italy, and the United States, asking for their assistance in securing import credits for Lebanon.

“To ensure the continuity of food security and raw materials for the production of various sectors,” PM Saad Hariri said.

In response, France prompted to send out invitations to a group meeting for international support to help Lebanon and mobilize assistance for the country.

Therefore, on December 11, the European Minister of Foreign affairs will host, in Paris, a meeting of the International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, co-chaired by France and the United Nations.  

In that regard, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing, “This meeting should enable the international community to call for the rapid formation of an effective and credible government, which takes the necessary decisions to restore the economic situation and meets the aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people.” 

While the international community group (ISG) prepares for this urgent meeting of support to Lebanon, the Lebanese Government from its side has not yet decided on the delegation that should attend this Wednesday. 

And yet, and according to Asharq Al-Awsat, French Ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher has addressed copies of the invitation to attend to President Michel Aoun, caretaker PM Saad Hariri, and the Lebanese Foreign Minister Secretary-General Hani Chemaitelley.

The confusion seems to dwell in the formation of the delegation, with names proposed then refused, and new names proposed and some insinuated.

Sources of Asharq Al-Awsat said that “Chemaittelly was supposed to head the delegation. However, there were suggestions for caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil to assume that role.”

Until our political authority decides to decide  -and hopefully before the meeting that is barely two days away- this is what we got of proposed names:

Caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil (who apologized), Antoine Choucair (Director-General of the presidency) to head the delegation, Ambassador Ghadi Khoury, and Hazar Caracalla (economic advisor to the Prime Minister).

Other names are also being suggested to join in the delegation: Alain Bifani, Director-General of the Finance Ministry, and Rami Adwan, Lebanon’s Ambassador to Paris. However, as of the time of writing this article, no decision has been taken on the delegation. 

We get to wonder if these hesitations are due to the open intention of the ISG to pressure the Lebanese officials “to swiftly form a new government in light of the difficult social, economic and financial situation.”

The meeting is said to start with an opening speech by the French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and the discussions to be led by the ministry’s secretary-general.