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Lebanon : the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM) opposes the false solutions proposed by the Paris Club

Thursday 1 February 2007, by Webmoudir

All the versions of this article: [عربي] [English] [français]

January 27, 2007

On Thursday January 25th, a third meeting of the world’s richest countries took place with great pomp in Paris in order to find funds for Lebanon. By giving hundreds of billion dollars, France and the United States claim to help this country already crippled by its debt and a victim of Israel’s military aggression in the summer of 2006.

Back in August 2006, the CADTM wrote, “From now on, Lebanon will have to call on foreign capital for help to rebuild itself. This implies a renewed increase in the country’s debt and new economic measures of structural adjustment which determine it. As a result, the Lebanese people will have to pay very dearly, in the coming years, for the consequences of this war inflicted by Israel in violation of the international treaties that govern relationships between States.” Given today’s situation, every word of this is true more than ever.

A sizable portion of the 7.6 billion dollars promised during the Paris conference corresponds to loans that will therefore have to be fully reimbursed. They will inflate a huge debt that has already reached $41 billion and represents 180% of GDP !

This debt allows creditors to maintain their grip upon the Lebanese economy. This is the reason why Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has proposed a reform programme that serves their interests. The CADTM condems this programme of ultra-liberal reforms which hits poorest people hard but which favours a minority of the population and the largest companies in the wealthy countries: an increase in VAT, privatisations of several companies such as mobile telecommunications in 2007 and Lebanon Telecom in 2008, a reduction in the number of state employees, etc.

This very self-interested aid from the richest countries strengthens Fouad Siniora’s government and this serves their political interests as well. Far from appearing to be a solution for the Lebanese people, the Paris Club does not at all seek to fight poverty or to break the powerful domination mechanism of debt.

Once again, the CADTM states that the only possible solution for Lebanon lies in immediate cancellation of her debt, the abolition of structural adjustment policies and the creation of a fund for reconstruction which would be fed by reparations deposited by Israel. A contribution from the United States, who supports and finances the state of Israel, should be added. Only then will it be possible to say that justice has been done to the Lebanese people.

Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt

Translation from French: Coorditrad

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