French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrives to meet Lebanese president in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon. AP
France's top diplomat was on a two-day visit to Lebanon on Thursday in the first such trip in recent months by a high-ranking foreign politician to the crisis-hit country hoping for an international bailout.
Jean-Yves Le Drian was set to meet President Michel Aoun at 0630 GMT, followed by meetings with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, the French embassy said.
A statement to the press is expected in the afternoon after he meets his Lebanese counterpart, Nassif Hitti.
Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis in decades, marked by a steep currency fall and runaway inflation that have plunged nearly half of the population into poverty.
The crisis has sparked mass protests since October against a political class accused of being incompetent and corrupt, and seen tens of thousands lose their jobs or part of their income.
After the country defaulted for the first time in March, the government pledged reforms and two months ago started talks with the International Monetary Fund towards unlocking billions of dollars in aid, but discussions are stalling.
Earlier this month, Le Drian said he was "very worried" by the lack of progress on reforms demanded before foreign financial assistance would be forthcoming.
"Help us help you," he urged.
Lebanon's government says it needs more than $20 billion in external funding, which includes $11 billion pledged by donors at a Paris conference in 2018 never delivered over lack of reforms.Agence France-Presse
The policy report released on Thursday said other critical missions for the region's governments should be bridging the digital divide and upholding human rights and good governance practices.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Lebanon would suspend all trips to and from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China, the hardest hit countries. It would also stop arrivals from France, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, he said.
"My aim is to prepare France for an eventual second wave, while preserving our daily life, our economic and social life," new Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview on RTL television.
Saleh Al Ameri said, “I am proud of the mission's success, and I am proud to present this achievement to our wise leadership.”
The development came as Belarus said it had intercepted missiles fired by Kyiv and Russia reported that Ukraine launched three cluster missiles at Belgorod, killing four people.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Sunday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.