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Lebanon's Prime Minister on Wednesday told parliament that "we are certainly in a difficult time" as his government attempts to bring the country's public debt burden - one of the world's heaviest - under control.
Saad al-Hariri added that the government had promised to issue a 2019 state budget in one or two months, but was trying not to harm anyone.
In a February policy statement, the new government committed itself to launching fast and effective reforms that could be “difficult and painful” to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions.
Al-Hariri also said on Wednesday he supported state pensioners but also wanted to protect the Lebanese pound, during a parliamentary discussion about the draft budget, Lebanese media reported.
"We are with the pensioners ... but we want to protect the pound and we must be sincere with them that the country could deteriorate," Hariri said, broadcaster LBC reported on its news app.
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