Kuwait will double to $200 million a deposit it keeps at the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) and provide $300 million in development finance to Lebanon, an official quoted Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri as saying Thursday, January 25. The desposit will run for three years from February 5, the official said.
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.
Earlier this week, officials explained that Kuwait keeps the money in the CBL to allow the central bank to support the Lebanese currency. Over the weekend, Kuwaiti Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Saad Abdullah al-Sabah told Hariri during a visit to the oil-rich Gulf emirate, that it planned to roll over the existing deposit on February 5 and that the amount might be increased at that time.
Lebanon's 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. Separately, the official said Hariri had announced that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development had decided to provide $300 million in aid for Lebanese development projects.
Earlier this week, Hariri announced that the emirate has vowed to fund most of a $500 million project on the Litani river in southern Lebanon, through the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. 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 have been in the form of grants. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
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