Lebanese President Wants to Resume Bailout Talks with IMF

Lebanon’s new government held its first meeting Monday with a call by the president to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund to help kick-start its recovery from one of the world’s worst economic crises in more than a century, the Associated Press reported. The 24-member Cabinet’s most pressing mission over the coming weeks will be to help improve conditions in the country of 6 million, including a million Syrian refugees. More than half the population now lives in poverty amid extended power outages and severe shortages in fuel and medicine. President Michel Aoun told ministers during the Cabinet meeting that their government policy statement should include the resumption of talks with the IMF, which were suspended last year. He also called for a plan to fight corruption and move forward with the investigation into last year’s massive explosion at Beirut’s port that killed at least 214 people, wounded over 6,000 others and damaged parts of the capital. The formation of a new government Friday came after a 13-month deadlock, one of Lebanon’s longest periods without a fully functioning government at a time when the country was sliding deeper into financial chaos and poverty. Read more.