Hariri speaks at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri Wednesday fired back at critics claiming pledges made at CEDRE risk increasing Lebanon's already bloated debt and stressed that the country's Capital Investment Plan projects will be carried out with transparency.Lebanon received over $11 billion in pledges from the international community at the CEDRE conference held in Paris Friday to support Lebanon's economy and revitalize its infrastructure.Hariri confirmed that Lebanon was pledged "excellent soft loans," with an interest rate no higher than 1.5 percent and a grace period of between seven and 10 years. Hariri also said that economic reforms Lebanon said it would enact would mainly target the electricity sector and, once implemented, could potentially save the country $2 billion a year.The prime minister stressed, however, that CEDRE was only one part of an ongoing process that began with the Rome II conference that garnered support for Lebanon's Army and security services and which will continue in about two weeks with the Brussels conference on refugees from the Syrian crisis. Hariri offered assurances that government accomplishments achieved before the conference indicated its commitment to reform.
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