IMF says exploring ways to aid Lebanon, calls for movement on reforms

FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen ahead of the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it was exploring all possible ways to support the Lebanese people following the powerful port warehouse explosion that rocked Beirut, while urging authorities to move on reforms.

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, in a statement, also urged the international community and friends of Lebanon “to step up to help the country”.

“The IMF is exploring all possible ways to support the people of Lebanon,” she said. “It is essential to overcome the impasse in the discussions on critical reforms and put in place a meaningful program to turn around the economy and build accountability and trust in the future of the country.”

The Lebanese government entered talks with IMF in May after defaulting on its foreign currency debt, but the negotiations have stalled in the absence of reforms and amid a row between the government, banks and politicians over the scale of the country’s vast financial losses.

Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Ellen Francis; Editing by Jon Boyle