Lebanon: Guterres, 'perfect storm' hit country

'Economic and social reforms are needed, fight against corruptio

24 September, 16:53

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, SEPTEMBER 24 - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Lebanon is facing a "perfect storm" with a financial and socio-economic crisis that has been going on for years, an unprecedented increase in unemployment and poverty, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Guterres' comments came during a meeting on Lebanon on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and he added that the explosions that devastated Beirut also exacerbated the serious difficulties the country is facing. "This tragic situation must be a reason to act and put into place urgent economic, social, and urgent policy reforms," he said. After having favourably welcomed the designation of Mustapha Adib as Lebanese prime minister, which he said is a "step in the right direction", Guterres insisted on the importance of quickly forming a new government "capable of responding to the legitimate aspirations and needs of the Lebanese people and that is able to put into place clear reforms of fundamental change". "Without these reforms, the country's ability to get back on its feet and rebuild will be put into danger and that would aggravate the Lebanese people's difficult situation," he said. Guterres said radical changes are needed in the financial, banking, and energy sectors as well as in management of customs and State-owned enterprises. He said social reforms, including social protection, are also needed to ensure the well-being of all Lebanese, particularly the most vulnerable. He said the reforms must "meet the legitimate aspirations expressed by the Lebanese people for increased well-being, responsibility, transparency, and the ability to fight corruption". In reiterating the importance of international aid, Guterres said "this is the time to put the national interest first and put people before politics to build a better future for Lebanon".(ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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