Lebanon's Hezbollah Urges Talks With Banks to Reduce Debt Servicing

The powerful Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah on Tuesday urged the new government to launch talks with banks to bring down the cost of servicing the state's massive public debt, setting out its view on the major problem in unusually clear terms, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. The remarks by a Hezbollah lawmaker in parliament point to the wider influence his heavily armed group aims to exercise over the way Lebanon is governed as it departs from the more marginal role it has played in the past. The government last month said it was absolutely not proposing to restructure the public debt and affirmed its commitment to paying all maturing debt and interest payments at predetermined dates. Deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, the Iran-backed Hezbollah has assumed control of three ministries in the new government, the largest number of portfolios it has ever held. Read more