Lebanese PM says cabinet will seek IMF aid
Lebanon will seek a rescue deal from the International Monetary Fund after the government endorsed a five-year recovery plan to help the country find a away out of an unprecedented financial crisis, the country's prime minister says.
Hassan Diab described the plan, which was adopted unanimously by the cabinet earlier in the day, as a comprehensive "roadmap" for dealing with the spiralling financial crisis and the collapse of the currency.
The crisis has led to escalating violence as protesters, enraged by the financial upheaval and rising poverty, have taken to the streets despite a virus lockdown.
"The Lebanese economy is in free fall," the plan's opening sentence said. "An international financial rescue package is urgently needed to backstop the recession and create the conditions for a rebound."
International donors have long demanded that Lebanon institute major economic reforms and anti-corruption measures, including in 2018, when they pledged $US11 billion ($A17 billion). That money has yet to be released.
Despite local opposition, including from the powerful militant Hezbollah group, the IMF is now widely seen as the only option available to Lebanon to secure assistance.
"I call on all Lebanese to consider this day as a turning point for a better future for our country," Diab said. "The road ahead will not be easy, but our determination and optimism will help us overcome our difficulties as we look to better days ahead."
The plan, which still needs parliament approval, paves the way for a formal request with the international lender and negotiations with eurobonds creditors.
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