September 20, 2019 / 11:19 AM / a month ago

Lebanon to discuss Saudi financial support in new joint body-PM Hariri

PARIS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Heavily indebted Lebanon will discuss getting help from Saudi Arabia with its financial situation at a new bilateral council the two countries are setting up, the Lebanese prime minister said on Friday.

Work was underway on the new council, and around 19 agreements had been prepared for it, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri told reporters after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

“There will also be talk regarding how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will help us regarding the financial situation we have,” Hariri said.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said on Wednesday Riyadh was in discussions with Lebanon about providing financial support, without giving details.

Earlier this week, a Lebanese official source told Reuters that work was underway to convene the committee in October. Hariri and a top-level Saudi official would head the committee, the source said.

One of the world’s most heavily indebted states, Lebanon is trying to carry out long-postponed reforms to put the public finances on a sustainable path.

The impetus has grown as the economy slows and the flow of hard currency from Lebanese abroad dries up; those remittance have long been a key source of financing for the state and current account deficits. (Reporting by Tom Perry in Beirut; editing by Larry King)

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