Beirut - Lebanon is committed to carrying out fast and effective reforms that could be “difficult and painful” to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions, according to a draft government policy statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The statement drawn up by a committee of ministers this week sets the main policy objectives of Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s government and will be put to a vote of confidence in parliament next week.
A ministerial committee tasked with drafting the government’s policy statement agreed Tuesday on a final version of the document after overcoming differences over two key divisive issues: Hezbollah’s massive arsenal of weapons, and relations with Syria.
The government formed last week is also committed to bringing down the debt-to-GDP ratio by boosting the size of the economy and reducing the budget deficit, the draft policy statement said.
Lebanon has one of the highest debt-to-GDP ratios in the world, at around 150 per cent.
This came as Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said Israel has breached Lebanon’s waters by licensing a company to “exploit an area” for oil and gas near disputed borders. “This is an infringement on Lebanese sovereignty and targets our oil wealth and waters,” Berri, who also heads the Shiite Amal party, said.