A senior U.S. State Department official announced to Al-Arabiya on February 15th that the US will support Lebanon in its mission to recover the stolen funds.
They added that their assistance will depend on Prime Minister Diab’s “commitment to implement reforms and to fighting endemic corruption.”
Mentioning the Lebanese officials, he said: “They know how to introduce genuine reforms which, if implemented, will open the doors wide for international, US, and EU investors in Lebanon.”
The US official, on the condition of anonymity, spoke about the support of the United States for the Lebanese army and its willingness to “financially” interfere to prevent a total collapse.
The official also maintained that the US does not want to interfere with Lebanon and therefore won’t express their support for the protesters.
However, they praised the army’s role in protecting the protesters, saying: “We have not abandoned the protesters and protected them from violence. We are in constant contact with the Lebanese army and highly praise the role of security forces in protecting demonstrators.”
He also added, “The protesters must keep pressuring the government peacefully until it meets their demands. Reforms are necessary and everyone in Lebanon must seek to achieve them.”
When asked about the issue of the money that was smuggled from Lebanon to Switzerland after the onset of the October revolution, he explained that the economic crisis came as a result of economic policies that have been put in place since the end of the civil war.
“Most of these stolen public funds are now abroad, some have suggested that the US administration contributes to returning them. We are cooperating with some international bodies to discuss the issue,” he emphasized.
The stolen funds have been one of the Lebanese protesters’ most prominent demands. Al-Jadeed had also a few weeks ago wrote a petition asking for the Swiss government to investigate the stolen funds.
According to An-Nahar, on February 6th, the Swiss Ambassador to Lebanon Monika Schmutz confirmed that the request “is currently being examined by the competent authority, the Federal Office of Justice.”