Munla views Hariri’s trip positively.
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Lebanon is decidedly on U.S. President Donald Trump's radar and Prime Minister Saad Hariri's trip to Washington was a positive move at a time when American policy edges toward cutting foreign aid, a key member of the premier's delegation said.Munla was asked how and why the U.S. would see Lebanon as a priority at a time when it seems to be withdrawing from international issues and focusing on domestic affairs.Not only is the U.S. going to continue supporting the Lebanese Army and contribute an additional $140 million to Lebanon, it has promised to encourage American oil and gas companies to invest in Lebanon, he said.Hariri asked the U.S. administration to hold talks with U.S. oil and gas companies and encourage them to bid in the Lebanese oil and gas sector. Using a dual-track system – a Capital Investment Plan and projects in the pipeline soon to be started – the Lebanese government proposed to the Americans an eight-year economic vision for rehabilitating Lebanon's infrastructure and economy."We are telling the world we don't have the $12 billion to spend from our budget so we need support in the form of grants and concessional loans, meaning loans for 30-40 years with an interest rate of 1 to 1.5 percent," Munla said.He highlighted that the Americans were very receptive to the plan, and that Lebanon will also directly contribute $3-5 billion to the overall sum through the private sector. According to Munla, these projects will carry the economy for the next two to three years.
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