May 6, 2019 / 7:57 PM / 16 days ago

Hariri says Lebanon far from bankruptcy, cites risks of no reform

FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri addresses his supporters during a commemoration ceremony marking the 13th anniversary of the assassination of his father in Beirut, Lebanon February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Monday Lebanon was far from bankruptcy but failure to pass a “realistic” budget that brings down the state deficit would be tantamount to a “suicide operation” against the economy.

Hariri also said once the new budget is approved, financial institutions would raise Lebanon’s sovereign ratings, and criticized “preemptive” strikes by public sector workers who fear their salaries and benefits will be cut.

He was speaking in televised comments after a meeting with President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. The government is debating the draft budget.

Reporting by Tom Perry and Laila Bassam; Editing by Peter Graff

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