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Lebanese Gov’t Approves Economic Rescue Plan

Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad said Thursday that the Lebanese cabinet has approved a plan to pull the country out of its worst economic crisis in decades. The plan is expected to be brought to the Lebanese parliament for approval next week. Reuters reported that a draft policy statement seen on Sunday included reducing interest rates, recapitalizing banks, restructuring the public sector and seeking support from foreign donors. Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet was formed last month, nearly three months after Saad al-Hariri’s government resigned, by Hezbollah and its political allies. Hariri’s government was widely blamed for corruption, mismanagement, and the country’s deep economic woes, including high unemployment, a weakened Lebanese pound, and skyrocketing inflation, in protests that swept across the country. President Michel Aoun said on Thursday that “it is imperative to start work immediately to make up for lost time.” Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni is expected to meet with a World Bank delegation on Friday.