Thursday, January 25, 2007

U.S. to more than triple aid to Lebanon

Reuters Photo: Lebanon's Prime Minister Fouad Siniora talks to reporters after a meeting with French President Jacques... As Paris III started, and the Lebanese Government led by Prime Minister Fouad Saniora had presented the reform plan in order to receive aid from several countries and contributors to the conference, U.S. is to triple aid to Lebanon:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the Bush administration is seeking $770 million in new aid for Lebanon. The money, which must be approved by Congress, would fund long-term redevelopment and immediate rebuilding from the devastating summer war between Hezbollah militants and Israel. [1]

Paris III took place the next day of the General Strike led by the opposition on Monday 23rd of January which have turned into riots, fist-fights, deaths, injuries, blockade on the Airport and polluted skies.
Top American business executives are also detailing private investment in Lebanon as part of the Paris session. As one example, Citicorp has pledged $120 million to underwrite mortgage and commercial lending by three Lebanese banks, Assistant Secretary of State Dina H. Powell said.

Chambers has already pledged $10 million to expand computer training in Lebanon and there are other plans to vastly improve national Internet capability, place 500 Lebanese interns in U.S. companies and generate up to 3,000 new jobs in Lebanon over the next few years. [1]

More aids from France and Europe will amount to 900 Million Euro.

French President Jacques Chirac announced a 500-million-euro (650 million dollars) loan as part of the aid package while the European Commission for its part pledged 400 million euros (519 million dollars). [2]

The aids that Lebanese will most probably be receiving, are to help Lebanese Economy and find ways to reduce the debt that has become more than $41 Billions.
Its public debt has reached 41 billion dollars (32 billion euros), more than 180 percent of gross domestic product. [2]

The Saniora government has made a study on how to solve the debt problem in Lebanon which can be found in the reform plan.

Reactions and opinions to this plan and to Paris III in Lebanon are mixed, which some people agree to and support the government in any of its moves, and others believe that this step is going to plunge Lebanon into more debt.

Please click here to read full article [1] and here to read article [2].

[1] AP
[2] AFP

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