Lebanon Daily News Brief 09/22/2022

Tuesday, September 20, 2022



Finalized Maritime Deal Reportedly ‘Days Away’
According to the National, “Lebanon and Israel are rapidly closing in on a maritime border deal, with only one significant issue to be resolved . . . Negotiations have picked up on the sidelines of this week’s UN General Assembly in New York, where US mediator Amos Hochstein is holding separate meetings with Lebanese and Israeli officials [including Lebanon’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati].” [
The National]

EU Envoys Express Grave Concern over Lebanon’s Crises to President Aoun
During a meeting between Lebanese President Michel Aoun and ambassadors to Lebanon from EU member states, the latter group jointly expressed ‘grave and growing concern’ over Lebanon’s crises, urging its head of state to immediately implement needed reforms. [
Arab News]

Caretaker Prime Minister Meets with IMF Managing Director
According to L’Orient Today, The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva on Tuesday said after meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati [at the Lebanese UN delegation’s residence] that the IMF is ‘eager’ to achieve a deal with Lebanon ‘as fast as possible and proceeding with the steps needed on the Lebanese side to approve reform programs in Parliament and fixing the situation of the exchange rate’.” [L’Orient Today]

Cypriot Authorities Rescue Group of Stranded Migrants
According to Reuters, Cyprus authorities late on Monday and early on Tuesday rescued hundreds of migrants who had left Lebanon and were stranded at sea in two separate incidents, officials said.” [Reuters]


Taking Cash In Hand – Are There Any Options?
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Lebanese are doing the inevitable: holding up banks to get their funds. In the latest of eight incidents, the person is now on strike within the bank branch having turned in his weapon. The story is a familiar one. With the onset of the current financial crisis in 2019, banks issued informal capital controls to limit the depositors’ access to their dollar accounts. Withdrawals in dollars or Lebanese currency are limited, which effectively means that as the devaluation of the Lebanese currency continues, the depositor gets a free haircut that is not so free considering there are few constraints on how the banks act. A haircut refers to the depreciation in the value of the money being held due to a loss of value in the currency. Although this is part of the larger issue of the national debt crisis, the lack of a capital controls law has disabled options for those whose savings are in the banks. Legal recourses do not exist. The banking association has not faced up to the reality that its sector is broken. And the depositors are forming organizations to fight for their access.”

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Al Monitor
Can Lebanon’s ‘Change’ Coalition Fix A Broken System?

Hanan Hamdan

Hamdan writes, “Lebanon’s Central Bank has lifted its remaining subsidies on fuel and stated Sept. 12 that it will no longer provide US dollars for gasoline imports, a move that will force the Lebanese to procure fuel at a volatile market rate. Until recently, the central bank secured 40% of fuel import costs in US dollars at sub-market rates set by its foreign exchange platform, known as Sayrafa. The electronic platform developed by the bank sets the exchange rate according to a daily pricing close to the parallel market exchange rate, standing now at around 28,000 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar. The remaining 60% was paid by importers in dollars on the black market. The latest central bank decision to lift subsidies forces gas station owners to pay the full price of fuel at the country’s black market rate, with the dollar trading Sept. 15 at around 37,000 Lebanese pounds.”

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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.