No global financial support for Lebanon until government in place - French presidency


FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron visits the devastated site of the explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon August 6, 2020. Thibault Camus/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France's presidency said on Wednesday that there would be no international financial support for Lebanon until there was a government in place and warned that an audit of the central bank was more urgent than ever.

A financial meltdown has crashed Lebanon's currency, paralyzed banks, sent inflation soaring and increased poverty. Suggestions of a looming end to subsidies have triggered panic buying.

"To borrow or lend money you need trust and trust isn't there," a French presidential official said ahead of a video conference to assess the humanitarian situation.

"We will stay like this as long as there is no credible government in place."

The official said that no measures for a proposed French roadmap to help the country had been implemented.

"The information we have is that the situation is getting worse and heading towards worse problems and that makes it even more necessary for a real audit (of the central bank)," the official said.

He said world powers would continue to apply political pressure on Lebanese politicians, but gave no indication on how this pressure could manifest itself other than questioning the efficiency of recent U.S. sanctions that have targeted allies of Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

"They (U.S. sanctions) have changed nothing on the ground. We need to continue to apply a public political pressure campaign, while supporting the population," the official said.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Nick Macfie)

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