April 7 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Saturday issued a statement praising those who pledged to help Lebanon with aid during the recent CEDRE conference in Paris.
In exchange for reforms, international donors pledged $11 billion in loans and grants to support the ailing Lebanese economy. Lebanese officials had initially targeted $6 billion to finance the first phase of the government's Capital Investment Program, which is the blueprint of the conference.
"Lebanon is a country facing countless challenges, including an unprecedented influx of refugees and the corrosive influence of Iran and Hizballah. But as we can see from the success of this conference, Lebanon is also a country with many friends and enormous potential," Trump said.
About 50 countries participated with organizations and private investors at the conference, which included officials from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
"I commend the government of Lebanons progress, under the leadership of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to address these pressing challenges. Lebanon has now passed a budget in two consecutive years, increased Lebanese Armed Forces deployments in the south, and defeated ISIS in Lebanon. And, it will soon hold historic parliamentary elections," Trump said. "These are all steps toward improved governance and a more secure Lebanon."
The president said he supports Lebanese officials' commitment to necessary reforms, including combatting corruption, increasing transparency and improving accountability and fiscal management.
"Undoubtedly, Lebanons ambitious set of infrastructure projects presents great opportunities to strengthen Lebanons economy and enhance economic prospects for the whole country. American companies will look forward to the new opportunities that the Capital Investment Plan will offer in Lebanon.
"The United States is proud of our close ties with the Lebanese people, and stands in support of Lebanons efforts to strengthen its legitimate state institutions and develop an open, free economy that serves all Lebanese," Trump said.