Canada pledged Monday, April 30, to join in any international program to help relieve Lebanon of its debt burden, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said. Talking to journalists after a private meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Chretien said his guest was asking the international community to help reduce its debt burden.
"I said if there is agreement in the international community, Canada will help," said Chretien. Hariri added that Chretien had also agreed Canada would participate in an international conference of Lebanon's creditors, which will probably be held in Paris "in the months to come."
The Lebanese leader told Chretien that Lebanon's interest payments currently account for 43 percent of its national budget. He said Beirut was already working on domestic reform to help ease its financial crisis. Measures already started included, he said, "privatization, reducing the size of the government and reducing the cost of the government. Hariri was on a one-day visit to Ottawa as part of an international tour to drum up support for debt relief. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)