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NEW YORK, Nov 4 – Preparatory discussions on a possible IMF financing program for Lebanon have started, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.

“Preparatory technical discussions have started,” said IMF spokesman Gerry Rice in a scheduled press conference.

“Clearly, strong policies and reforms are needed to address the really unprecedented economic and social crisis facing Lebanon.”

This development comes after the executive director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in October that he hopes programme negotiations with Lebanon could start before the new year to try to pull the country’s economy out of a crisis.

“We hope the effort being made today will lead to access to all the data and to sufficient information … all required data must be available first,” the IMF’s Mahmoud Mohieldin said in a statement on October 19th

An IMF programme is widely seen as the only way Lebanon can unlock foreign financial help which it desperately needs to emerge from one of the world’s sharpest economic depressions.

(Reuters)

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