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Hariri on the Paris donation pledges

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(11 Apr 2018) LEADIN:The Lebanese Prime Minister has welcomed 11.5 billion US dollars in loans secured at a donor conference in Paris.Saad Hariri says the conditions for borrowing the money are "very soft" and says the funds will be used solely for infrastructure projects.STORYLINE:Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has a lot to be pleased about.At a donor conference in Paris last week, the country secured substantial grants and loans, totalling 11.5 billion US dollars.The loan conditions include below-market rates and generous payment periods."The majority of the loans are soft, they are very soft loans, with an interest rate of no more than 1.5 percent, with allowance periods between seven and 10 years. And the payment period over 25 years," he tells a news conference in Beirut. "These loans will not be used for anything besides infrastructure projects, which Lebanon badly needs."International donors have pledged the money to help debt-ridden Lebanon.  Fears of economic collapse are mounting ahead of next month's parliamentary election, the first in nine years.It has been hit hard by the Syrian war next door.After seven years of conflict within its neighbour's borders, growth in Lebanon has dived from eight percent to barely one percent.Syria's war has hindered land exports to Jordan, Iraq and oil-rich Gulf Arab countries. Lebanon is also hosting 1.2 million refugees - accounting for nearly a quarter of the country's population.Hariri says the Paris conference is "all about creating job opportunities for the Lebanese youth"."There will also be some of the jobs that will go to Syrian refugee workers," he adds. The meeting was not a classic donors' conference, but meant to seek an investment plan around infrastructure, water and energy, delineate structural reforms, and mobilise the private sector, French officials have said.France has deep ties to Lebanon, a former protectorate.Another conference on April 25 in Brussels will aim to help Lebanon better cope with Syrian refugees.You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4148554 2c4af06e8ba0e408392c2419ba0fb2d4 MEEX Lebanon Hariri Saad Hariri Middle East Paris France Western Europe Beirut Lebanon Social affairs General news Government and politics Media
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