Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri addresses the Cedre conference at The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Paris on April 6, 2018. / AFP / POOL / Ludovic MARIN
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri made clear in his final speech at the CEDRE conference that the pledging of $11 billion by the international community towards supporting Lebanon was just the beginning of the process.At CEDRE, Lebanon was seeking pledges towards the first four-to-five-year phase of the CIP, which covers up to 12 years and $22 billion in its current form.Lebanon's budget deficit stood at more than 150 percent of GDP at the end of last year.At the conference, however, Hariri said that several of the laws were still with Parliament.Munla pointed out at a media conference before CEDRE that if the electricity sector alone could be improved, that would bring the deficit down by four percent.At the conference, however, Hariri struck a positive tone regarding future political progress.UNDP Resident Representative for Lebanon Philippe Lazzarini summed up the tone at the closing of CEDRE to The Daily Star, saying that the conference was a demonstration of "mutual trust" between Lebanon and the international community – trust that will need to continue to follow through on the promises of CEDRE.
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