A French diplomat said that Paris is expecting from Lebanon to take several measures by the end of this year for the release of soft loans and grants pledged to the country at the CEDRE conference held last year.
A French roadmap is considered “binding” for the delivery of pledges made by Paris during a meeting held ten days ago between French President Emmanuel Macron and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat in remarks published Monday.
The roadmap requires Beirut to approve the 2020 state budget and pass a series of necessary reforms, particularly in the electricity sector.
Macron had affirmed that “France will always remain committed to fulfilling its commitments to implementing the resolutions approved at the CEDRE conference,” held in Paris in April 2018.
According to the source, there are ongoing contacts between Beirut and Paris to solve a problem on the establishment of a steering committee tasked with drawing up conditions for any project that Lebanon plans to propose before being transferred to Parliament for approval.
The diplomatic source said Paris insists on forming a committee represented by France, Britain, Canada, Jordan, the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Lebanese premiership and the deputy PM, chairman of the Supreme Commission for Privatization, the Council for Development and Reconstruction and the Central Inspection.
The French proposal came after Hariri suggested that the committee includes only him as Prime Minister, the Council for Development and Reconstruction and the Higher Relief Commission, explaining that Lebanon would be quicker in forming the committee with fewer members.
However, according to the source, France reiterated that Lebanon should respect the original membership of the committee, which is required to assure transparency.
“Paris is well informed that Lebanon has prepared four projects that should be transferred to CEDRE when the zero hour is determined to start implementing the decisions of the donor conference,” the source said, adding that the first phase would kick off in mid-November.