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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Beirut - Youssef Diab

Lebanese Banks Respond to Mikati's Request to End Strike

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati during a security meeting at the Grand Serail last week (Dalati and Nohra)

The Association of Banks in Lebanon is expected to halt an open-ended strike they began earlier this week after assurances made by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati that no controversial litigation are to be taken against them by the FPM-affiliated judge Ghada Aoun.

On Wednesday, Mikati requested caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to give directions to the security apparatuses to control any “violations" taken by Aoun in her quest to target some commercial banks.

ABL has earlier criticized the moves taken by Aoun against some banks, describing them as “arbitrary.”

Lebanon’s banks are expected to resume work either on Friday or early next week.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's battered commercial banks closed their doors to customers in protest of a recent court ruling that forced one of the country's largest banks to pay out two of its depositors their trapped savings in cash.

ABL lamented how lawsuits presented by non-depositors at banks are taken into consideration. The Association said that lawsuits were made by non-depositors and then presented to “specific non-specialized judges, who are known to have opposed positions against banks.”

Akram Azoury, the lawyer for the Association of Banks in Lebanon, told Asharq al-Awsat: “Addressing the current flaw in dealing with the banks is the responsibility of the higher judicial council, the minister of justice and the political authority.”

Azoury said that as per law, he has the right to reject any “flawed” judicial order without insulting the judge who had taken that decision.

On the “positive” atmospheres that Mikati expects if the banks decide to put their strike on hold in 48 hour, Azouri said: “If PM Mikati is able to address the legal flaw in addressing the banks matter, the strike could end in 48 minutes.”

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