Lebanon’s central bank says not enough reserves for import of medical supplies

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Beirut – Lebanon’s central bank said on Thursday it could not keep up its imports of subsidized medical goods without using its mandatory reserves and asked the relevant authorities to find a solution to the problem.

Lebanon, in the throes of a financial crisis that is threatening its stability, has been subsidizing fuel, wheat and medicine since last year.

Lebanon’s pound has crashed 90 percent since late 2019 in a financial meltdown that poses the biggest threat to stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.

On Wednesday, Lebanon’s army chief Joseph Aoun warned France that an economic crisis had put the military on the verge of collapse and Paris offered emergency food and medical aid for troops in hopes of preserving law and order, sources said.

France, which has led aid efforts to its former colony, has sought to pressure Lebanon’s squabbling politicians who have failed to agree on a new government and launch reforms to unlock foreign cash.

Discontent is brewing among Lebanon’s security forces over a currency crash wiping out most of the value of their salaries.

In unusually outspoken comments in March, Aoun said his warnings to Lebanese officials that this could lead to an “implosion” had fallen on deaf ears.

According to three people with knowledge of his visit to Paris, Aoun told senior French officials that the situation was untenable.

Reuters

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