Lebanon asks diplomats to search for donors to fund embassies’ expenses

Lebanon – which is suffering from a financial crisis – asked embassies to search for donors to help cover their operating expenses, with the delay in paying the salaries of diplomats and considering the closure of missions abroad.

Reuters news agency said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested in a circular on January 25 last year that foreign missions seek donations from the Lebanese expatriates, and respond to their request within two weeks.

The publication said that the ministry is considering closing a number of missions as an urgent financial measure adopted by many countries afflicted by similar financial crises.

The State Department did not respond to a request for more information regarding the document and the financial status of the embassies.

Two Lebanese diplomatic sources said that foreign mission staff had not received their salaries for the month of January, and another source reported that they had been informed that they would receive their salaries next week.

Lebanon is suffering from what the World Bank described as one of the worst financial meltdowns in history.

Since 2019, Lebanon has consumed most of its hard currency reserves, which has led to a shortage of the dollar and the loss of the local currency by more than 90% of its value.

The Lebanese Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bou Habib, said last December that he had started implementing a plan to reduce the expenses of embassies, including rent allowances, diplomats’ salaries, party and travel expenses, and the size of the reductions could reach 18 million in a budget of 95 million dollars in total.

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary of State for Relations with Countries, criticized Lebanese politicians during his visit to Beirut (Reuters)

criticize politicians

In a parallel context, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Vatican Secretary of State for Relations with Countries (Foreign Minister), criticized Lebanese politicians during his visit to Beirut on Tuesday.

Archbishop Gallagher’s comments came a week after the World Bank criticized the Lebanese ruling class and accused it of “orchestrating” one of the worst cases of national economic depression in the world by tightening its exploitative grip on resources.

“It is necessary to put an end to the profiting of the few from the suffering of the many, not to more half-truths that frustrate the aspirations of the people,” the bishop said after his meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda.

The Vatican’s foreign minister arrived in Beirut on Monday evening, accompanied by a delegation from the Vatican on an official visit to Lebanon.

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