Lebanon Daily News Brief 02/08/2022

Tuesday, February 8, 2022



Ambassador: ‘No Wiggle Room’ On Date Of Elections
The US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said to Reuters“The international community is unanimous that the elections must be held on time in a fair and transparent manner . . . There’s no wiggle room.” The article continues, “Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said a failure to hold elections on time risked further straining ties with Western nations who could help Lebanon emerge from the crisis.” [Reuters]

Lebanon Receives German Letter Seeking Information On BDL Governor
As the fourth European country to seek information relating to Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh’s finances, Germany sent two letters to the government of Lebanon, which was confirmed by Justice Minister Henry Khoury, who handed them to the public prosecutor. [Reuters]

Senior US Diplomat Discusses Lebanon With Saudi Officials
Joseph Haboush reports, Acting US Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Yael Lempert held meetings with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir and Hodaal-Helaissi of the Saudi Shura Council . . . With al-Jubeir, talks focused on Lebanon, ‘and cooperation to strengthen multilateral efforts for a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the conflict in Yemen,’ the State Department said.” [Al Arabiya English]

Legal Action Lebanon Hotline for Legal Aid, Services, and Support
According to the 961, “Victims and survivors within the Lebanese judicial system can now call a hotline for legal aid and have access to a range of legal services, from information and assistance to representation and psychological support . . . If you or someone you know have been a victim within the Lebanese judicial system, you can now call Legal Action Lebanon‘s hotline: 81-315 001.” [The961]



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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L’Orient Today
IMF Requests Lebanon To Review Financial Plan: Is This Good News For Depositors?
Nada Maucourant Atallah

Maucourant Atallah writes, “It is a bitter pill to swallow for civil society, particularly since ‘while the previous government stressed in its plan the importance of recovering the money transferred abroad after Oct. 17, 2019, and on recovering ill-gotten assets, these principles are hardly touched upon in this plan. In short, the losses are unfairly distributed, irrespective of [the share] of the responsibilities of the crisis,’ Karim Daher, a lawyer and president of the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Depositors said. How firm will the IMF stance on these fairness-related issues remain? Kulluna Irada, a Lebanese advocacy group calling for political reform, called on the IMF to take a firm stance in this regard in an open missive that L’Orient-Le Jour published recently.” 

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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.