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France's Le Maire Says Reforms Needed To Bolster Lebanese Economy

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By Reuters

PARIS, FRANCE (APRIL 6, 2018) (REUTERS FOR AGENCY POOL) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER, SAAD HARIRI, GREETING FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, AS THEY ENTER HALL HARIRI AND LE MAIRE TAKING SEATS HARIRI BEFORE CONFERENCE LE MAIRE OPENING SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "With these reforms and with the modernization of implementation procedures of projects, the objectives of the capital investment plan can be met. But I am saying it again, these sweeping sectorial reforms are indispensable to guarantee the economic viability of investments and, especially, to allow the private sector to come forward and answer the call of investors." FRENCH, EUROPEAN UNION AND LEBANESE FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER, BRUNO LE MAIRE, SAYING: "Today's conference is a starting point. It is a starting point in applying a strategy different from what was adopted in the last years. Again, we're no longer talking about donations. We're talking about investments, structural reforms so that Lebanon rebounds from a solid base. It is a starting point because the collective mobilization has just begun. It's also a starting point because for the first time, a follow-up mechanism for reciprocal commitments will be introduced to sustain donor support and Lebanon's modernisation programme in the long-term." CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER, SAAD HARIRI, SAYING: "So we bear the weight of many nations. But we take responsibility of what we do because we believe that Lebanon has a history. And being a country who, at one point, who faced a civil war, and we were refugees ourselves. So we understand where this all is coming from, and we do it because we believe in humanity and we believe this is something that we should do. But it does not mean that we can do it forever. We are doing a public service for the international community. And we believe that the international community has a responsibility towards us, towards Lebanon, towards the region." PARTICIPANTS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER, SAAD HARIRI, SAYING: "Our growth today is 1.5 percent, 2 percent, and this is not sustainable. If we want to create jobs, we need to invest. If we want to make sure (to address) that 25 percent unemployment we have among the Lebanese, we need to create jobs." EXTERIOR OF FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY'S CONVENTION CENTRE
Dateline: 2018

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