Three years after the end of the Lebanese civil war Lebanon's economy is still in severe difficulties, and prospects for an early recovery are reported to be remote.
Three years after the end of the Lebanese civil war Lebanon's economy is still in severe difficulties, and prospects for an early recovery are reported to be remote. Government sources say Lebanon's present productive capacity is substantially below the level of 1973, the last pre-war year for which accurate and complete statistics are available. Last year's industrial exports were less than half of those six years ago. The Government is seeking aid for redevelopment.
SYNOPSIS: Among the countries willing to help are the nine members of the European Economic Community. This delegation led by the Common Market's Commissioner in charge of Development Aid Mr. Claude Cheysson, made a three-day visit to investigate the best ways of giving assistance. They met Prime Minister Selim Al-Hoss. The Arab League has already offered assistance, and planned a meeting to discuss how to finance Lebanon's reconstruction. The meeting never took place, but in preparation for it a study revealed a need for 9.4 billion Lebanese pounds (3.1 billion dollars) in aid over five years.
The Arab nations reportedly prefer `peace first, cash later', but the EEC is prepared for immediate aid.
After meeting the Prime Minister, Mr. Cheysson said he also intended to hold talks with other government ministers. Mr. Cheysson said the further discussions would be needed to settle details about financial aid. Mr. Cheysson said the nine EEC countries are interested in trying to help ensure Lebanon's territorial integrity, and to encourage respect for the sovereignty of the government.
Lebanon was once a major centre for finance and trade in the Middle East. The aid now being sought would help counter a reversal of this position. In 1974 Lebanon had a budget surplus .. This year it has a deficit of almost one billion Lebanese pounds (333 million dollars).