Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh looks on during during an interview with Reuters in his office in Beirut, Lebanon July 18, 2016. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi
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Lebanon's Central Bank chief said he will ensure local banks comply with a U.S. law targeting Hezbollah's finances, weeks after a bomb attack at a major Lebanese lender that had begun closing accounts linked to the militant group. Riad Salameh told Reuters the U.S. law must be enforced to keep Lebanon's banks within the global financial system and stabilize the hugely indebted economy as neighboring Syria's civil war hits tourism and growth.Passed in December, the law threatens to bar from the U.S. financial market any bank that knowingly engages with Hezbollah, designated a terrorist organization by the United States.With government debt of 136.7 percent of GDP in 2015, the third-highest among countries rated by Fitch, confidence in Lebanon's Central Bank – seen as one of the only effective institutions in the weak state – is vitally important.Confidence in the Central Bank remains high and should ensure Lebanon can continue to fund itself, he added.
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