Lebanon’s IMF talks on hold, finance minister says

An anti-government protester shouts slogans while wearing a mask with the colors of the Lebanese flag in Beirut on Thursday, July 2, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Lebanon’s IMF talks on hold, finance minister says

  • Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said he would remain in contact with the IMF until the talks resume

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s talks with the IMF are on hold pending the start of economic reforms and agreement on the Lebanese side on a common approach for calculating losses, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said.

Wazni will remain in contact with the IMF until the talks resume, he said in comments to Al-Joumhuria newspaper that were confirmed to Reuters by official sources.

“What is being worked on today is defining the losses and their size in all sectors,” Wazni said. “We must come up with a unified approach agreed upon with all political forces and in coordination between the government and parliament.”

“… We must agree as soon as possible.”

Lebanon began talks with the IMF in May, hoping to secure aid to tackle a financial crisis considered the biggest threat to the country since its 1975-90 civil war.

But the process got bogged down by a row over the scale of the financial losses that has embroiled the government, the central bank, commercial banks and MPs from Lebanon’s main political parties.

A parliamentary fact-finding committee said on Wednesday losses in the system were between a quarter and half the amount set out in a government recovery plan that was submitted to the IMF.

The IMF has said the government’s numbers appear to be about the right order of magnitude.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that several current and former Lebanese officials, diplomats, international officials, economists and analysts agreed that the IMF talks were going nowhere.


Germany warns dual nationals off Iran travel after arrest

Updated 37 min 47 sec ago

Germany warns dual nationals off Iran travel after arrest

BERLIN: Germany has warned citizens who also hold Iranian nationality against travelling to Iran after a dual national was arrested in October.
The foreign ministry did not name the detained citizen, but she has been identified as Nahid Taghavi by her daughter Mariam Claren.
"There have been several arrests of German-Iranian dual nationals in the past -- including most recently in October 2020, often without comprehensible reasons," said the German foreign ministry in an online update of its travel warning.
"Further detentions of people who also possess Iranian citizenship cannot be ruled out," it added, stressing therefore that "unnecessary travel by people who are also Iranian nationals is strongly discouraged".

 


Taghavi is a 66-year-old architect, who is reportedly being held in solitary detention in Iran.
Her daughter Claren said she has had no access to her since October 15, a day before she was believed to have been arrested.
Human rights group IGFM said Taghavi should be viewed as a political prisoner because she has for years been fighting for human rights in Iran, in particular for women's rights and freedom of expression.