It Could Be Crunch Time for World’s Third Most-Indebted Country
Caught in conflict and with precarious finances, Lebanon is talking about a Greek-style rescue package
Dana Khraiche, and Onur Ant
March 5, 2018
Step inside the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Beirut’s central Nejmeh Square and you could be in Athens: priests with long black robes and beards lead prayers and worshipers cross themselves in front of icons.
The problem for Lebanon, the world’s third most-indebted country, is that it’s starting to look more like Greece financially. And if Greece’s survival as part of the euro was crucial to the European project, Lebanon is key to keeping what’s left of peace in the Middle East.
“I don’t think the gravity of the situation is understood by everyone,” deputy Prime Minister Ghassan Hasbani said in his office in Beirut. The time has come for an international aid package that will force Lebanon to reform, “the same way that Greece was salvaged, but before it’s too late,” he said.