Speaking exclusively to CNN’s Becky Anderson in Beirut, the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salame says Lebanon is “days” away from collapse if protests continue, adding “in order to save this situation, we need an immediate solution.”

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Key Quotes

Lebanon “days” away from collapse:

Becky: “You say you have enough reserves to ensure that this country can stave off economic collapse as long as political situation here is sorted out. Are we talking days, weeks, months?

Salame: “It’s a matter of days because the cost is heavy on the country. But more important we are losing every day confidence. More and more confidence.  And finance and economy are all about confidence. The banks are closed, the real asset of Lebanon are the Lebanese working outside, our diaspora. If they don’t see a solution that gives hopes for the future, then these inflows on which Lebanon relies will diminish in an important manner. In order to save this situation, we need an immediate a solution.”

On economic paralysis:
Salame: “The more the solution is delayed, the more the cost on the country. Today there is no economic activity in the country. Imports are getting difficult to channel because the banks are closed, and opening letter of credits is more difficult than it was before. We have international debts to cover, if we don’t cover, we are in a default situation, and on the other hand, the people, jobs are at threat, companies that are losing money might run the risk of not being able pay salaries. The issue today is an issue of a country that is stopped in its activity and cannot afford that.”

On Hariri’s resignation:
Salame: “Prime Minister Hariri wanted to resign, to form a new govt. he doesn’t want to resign and leave the country and the post in vacancy because it the situation. I believe that what he has all the political movement now is to try and get a consensus on a new govt, or changes to the present govt, to satisfy the people of Lebanon, to regain a certain trust. For the time being, there is no progress in this issue”

Source: Grayling