BEIRUT: Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh Saturday expressed gratitude for those nominating him for the presidential election, while explaining that he had refrained from announcing his candidacy to keep the Central Bank isolated from politics.
“I thank the trust given to me as a presidential candidate, but my concern is for the Central Bank to remain at a distance from political bickering, which is why I do not take any initiative in that regard,” Salameh told a local television station.
Salameh, who has been the governor of the country’s Central Bank since 1993, is seen as a consensus candidate in light of the absence of any agreement on a single political candidate.
Last month, Lebanon has entered its two-month constitutional period to elect a new president, the country’s top Christian post.
In his interview, Salameh also spoke about the decline in the tourism industry, saying Gulf countries’ travel advisories on Lebanon had damaged that sector.
“The fact that Gulf tourists refrained from traveling to Lebanon has negatively affected the Lebanese economy because Lebanon relies heavily on tourism from Gulf States,” he said.
Salameh offered reassurances that Lebanon was still able to “finance its needs with stable interest” because of the trust in the country’s banking sector that allows for the flow of foreign funds to Lebanon.
He also said Lebanon was in line with international and Arab resolutions, particularly in terms of economic restrictions.
“Lebanon is concerned with respecting international and Arab resolutions, and banking measures have been taken to ensure that Lebanon does not deal with money either from Syrian institutions or figures if we receive warning from any of the countries we deal with,” he said.