Lebanon Should Drill for Gas Regardless of Maritime Deal with Israel, MP Says Lebanon Recovery Plan held up by Changes from PM
Addressing Food Insecurity in Crisis-Stricken Lebanon
Lebanon Should Drill for Gas Regardless of Maritime Deal with Israel, MP Says In an interview with Sean Matthews, MP Neemat Frem makes the case that Lebanon should begin to drill for gas in uncontested areas as soon as possible. Frem anticipates that the negotiations with Israel will become delayed, especially with the upcoming elections there. [Middle East Eye]
As Lebanese MP Neemat Frem said, “We come to the negotiations in a very weak position …Israel is locked and loaded ready to go with Karish, while Lebanon doesn’t even have one commercially viable gas discovery.” The government would have been in a stronger position knowing its resource potential through a vigorous exploration program rather than arguing about its border with Israel absent any determination of commercially viable energy. Now is the time for both sides to come to a resolution of the border. A deal will come together as long as US Special Envoy Amos Hochstein maintains the trust of both parties, who must in turn realize they will have to give up something to reach a fair compromise.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Lebanon Recovery Plan held up by Changes from PM The $3 billion IMF bailout package from the IMF is contingent on reforms to Lebanon’s political system, including passage of a 2022 budget, banking secrecy reform, and capital control. Mikati’s previous government proposed a financial recovery plan to fill the $70 billion gap in the financial sector, which saw losses divided between the central bank, commercial banks, and depositors. That plan is now being revisited by Mikati’s current government. [Reuters]
The lack of transparency regarding the implementation of the IMF bail-out, and the contradictory messages from the government are dragging Lebanon further into a beggar-nation status. There is a staff-level agreement to be implemented. While debate is welcome, to further delay its implementation only drives the Lebanese people into more desperation. Using public assets like MEA and public companies is not an optimal solution. And, the sooner Lebanon has a national budget that spells out new disciplines in government spending, the better. What’s the point in using the previous exchange rate when it’s a charade that serves no good end?
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Addressing Food Insecurity in Crisis-Stricken Lebanon After surviving three years of economic turmoil, the Lebanese now face rising inflation and both macroeconomic and political crises. The people are suffering and food security one of the top humanitarian plights of the Lebanese people. [Lebanese Center for Policy Studies]
Lebanon is in a food crisis. Over half the population is food insecure and surveys indicate that both the quantity and quality of food supplies are lacking. Yet, there are short-term remedies. The new parliament needs to approve without delay the $150 million loan from the World Bank for wheat supplies. Parliament should implement the new competition law to reduce monopolistic practices and price-fixing by importers/sellers. This will enable greater access at reasonable prices for consumers. So, if the new parliament needs an agenda, here are two ready steps.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed 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.