Schenker: Washington Checking Lebanon’s Govt. Rescue Plan
U.S. assistant secretary for Near East affairs, David Schenker on Saturday welcomed Lebanon’s request for assistance from the International Monetary Fund, saying it is the government’s first step towards acknowledging the magnitude of the financial crisis in Lebanon.
Schenker said that Washington was “looking into” the rescue plan put by the Lebanese government, but he said that the matter “ultimately depends on the Lebanese government’s willingness to take necessary steps in order to obtain the IMF’s assistance,” he said in remarks to Sky News Arabia.
He added that money provided by the IMF “is not free aid, but rather is conditional by reform steps that help create returns for the state and allow the IMF to exercise control over the state's economy.”
Schenker said it is remarkable “to see whether this government, of which Hizbullah is part of, is able to fully commit to reform, since it depends on illegal financing and corruption and avoids paying its dues to the state, such as customs and taxes.”
On the U.S. relations with Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, Schenker said it is no secret that Washington has a “fruitful relationship with the Governor of BDL Riad Salameh, but he stressed that the relationship with Lebanon is a relationship with institutions.”