Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the Government House in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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The date for the much-anticipated Paris IV donor conference to garner international support to shore up Lebanon's ailing economy and infrastructure has been set for April 6, a source close to Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Tuesday.Setting a final date for Paris IV, also known as the Cedar Conference, comes amid growing calls on the Lebanese government to carry out long-awaited economic reforms and endorse the 2018 draft state budget – both deemed essential ahead of three international donor conferences to be held in the coming months.The conferences aim at securing further financial support for Lebanon as it struggles with the heavy burden posed by an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees, whose presence is draining the country's struggling economy and frail infrastructure.Hariri will sponsor a conference on investment in infrastructure on March 6 ahead of the Paris IV conference, according to a statement issued by the organizers at a news conference Tuesday.The International Monetary Fund has urged Lebanon to implement reforms ahead of the Paris IV conference.MP Walid Jumblatt called for economic reforms but sounded skeptical about the Paris IV conference.Two leading parliamentary blocs, the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, called separately Tuesday for the endorsement of the 2018 budget and implementation of economic and financial reforms ahead of the donor conferences.
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