Report: Wazni Meets International Bodies on Lebanon’s Eurobonds
Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni reportedly began negotiations with international bodies on Lebanon’s $1.2 billion Eurobonds due to mature in March, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.
Wazni kicked off talks with a “technical nature” with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in the presence of representatives of investment Lazard Bank, which advised Greece on the management of its debt, added the daily.
Lazard attends the negotiations as an “adviser of the Lebanese State,” according to al-Joumhouria.
Awaiting the results of these negotiations, Lebanon’s government must not make any decision whether it plans to pay or not these Eurobonds, otherwise, in both cases, the State and Lebanese citizens could be immensely harmed, said the daily.
On Sunday, Lebanon’s central bank has proposed that Lebanese holders of the $1.2 billion Eurobonds swap their holdings for longer-dated notes.
Crisis-hit Lebanon is on the brink of defaulting on its sovereign debt and the impact is being felt by all social classes, with tough restrictions on cash withdrawals and a steep de-facto devaluation of the national currency.
The World Bank has warned that if no solution is found swiftly to the crisis, the poverty rate may shoot up from a third to half of the population.
Lebanon’s government has to decide whether it should restructure or pay its $2.5 billion Eurobonds, including a $1.2 billion Eurobond maturing in March, $600 million maturing in April, and $700 million in June.