Kuwait rolls over $100 million deposit at Lebanon central bank
Kuwait has decided to roll over for another three years a deposit of $100 million in the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) in a bid to support the Lebanese national currency, officials here said Monday, January 22. Kuwaiti Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad Abdullah al-Sabah announced his country's decision to Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who visited the oil-rich Gulf emirate over the weekend, they said.
The deposit, which was due to expire on February 5, may be increased when renewed, they said, without giving details on the increase.
Kuwait had deposited $100 million, with a five percent interest rate, at the CBL in 1998, under a previous Hariri government, in a bid to back the Lebanese pound. Lebanon' central bank has repeatedly intervened and lost billions of dollars in the past few years to back the national currency, which has been subjected to heavy pressures from the country's economic crisis.
The al-Mustaqbal daily, owned by the billionaire Lebanese prime minister, said Monday that Saudi Arabia had also agreed to a three-year extension of its $500 million deposit at the CBL when it expired two weeks ago.
Hariri said Sunday from Kuwait that the emirate has vowed to fund most of a $500 million project on the Litani river in southern Lebanon, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.
The Litani river project aims to provide irrigation and power to the whole of southern Lebanon, most of which was under Israeli occupation for two decades until May 2000. Hariri also signed economic agreements on avoiding double taxation, on investment promotion and road transport during his visit to Kuwait.
Hariri said Kuwait had also pledged to help in mines-clearing operations in southern Lebanon. Since the end of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, Kuwait has provided Beirut with a total of $415 million in aid, of which $127 million has been in the form of grants. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)