Lebanon Daily News Brief 02/09/2022

Wednesday, February 9, 2022


US Energy Advisor and Mediator Returns to Lebanon 
US State Department’s Senior Advisor for Global Energy Security Amos Hochstein, who has been mediating the maritime border negotiations between Lebanon and Israel as well as helping to facilitate energy deals among Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon via Syria, is visiting Lebanon this week. “We have an opportunity today. We have narrowed the gaps on the issue of maritime border demarcation and we can reach an agreement . . . We will not be the ones to conclude the agreement. Lebanon and Israel must decide to do so,” said Hochstein. [Arab News“Mikati indicated that he would consult with President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to determine the Lebanese position’ on the talks, a statement issued by the premier’s office said Wednesday.” [L’Orient Today]

Maronite Patriarch Calls for IMF Agreement, On-Time Elections
Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi spoke on the occasion of Saint Maroun Day and urged the government hold its May 15 parliamentary elections on time in addition to accelerating the reform negotiations with the IMF so that an agreement can be reached. [Reuters]

National Library of Lebanon To Re-Open Tomorrow
According to the announcement issued by the Lebanese Minister of Culture Muhammad Mortada, the National Library of Lebanon will re-open following an inaugural ceremony that will take place on Thursday. This long anticipated re-opening comes after the institution, “first shut down 1979, during the country’s 15-year civil war that came to an end in 1990, and has since faced decades of limbo.” [L’Orient Today]



How Is The Patient, Doctor? Doctor…Oops, Gone To Dubai
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Just when Lebanon should be taking initiatives to rebuild its credibility in the eyes of the foreign countries that may be home to potential investors in Lebanon, it instead shoots itself in both feet, becoming hobbled in its capabilities to attract the larger financial support it really needs. Even if the Lebanese staff are paid in local currency such as USD, do the government cutbacks imply that consulate and embassy officers will also have to bear wage cuts that will require further efforts to secure additional sources of income? . . . On top of that, preliminary details of a proposed monetary restructuring under discussion that was seen by Reuters, “projects a 93% devaluation of the Lebanese pound and converts the bulk of hard currency deposits in the banking system to local currency . . . Ahead of the many restless nights and painful days preceding the approval of such a plan, I encourage you to read the article and to mobilize for fairness and equity.” 
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The 961
New Report Reveals Alarming Numbers Of People Emigrating From Lebanon
Karine Keuchkerian

Keuchkerian writes, “According to the [Information International] study, the number of emigrants in 2021 was 79,134, compared with 17,721 in 2020. That is an increase of 61,413 people or 346%. Thus, 2021 has recorded the largest number of migrants and travelers in the past five years. During the years between 2017-2021, the number of migrants and travelers leaving the country reached 215,653: 18,863 people emigrated in 2017; 33,129 in 2018; 66,806 in 2019; 17,721 in 2020; and 79,134 in 2021. That is a total of 215,653 people who emigrated from Lebanon in 5 years.” 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.