The United States criticized Lebanon’s politicians Thursday for failing to form a new government that is needed to halt the country’s economic, social, and financial collapse.
Shortly after meeting with President Michel Aoun, Saad Hariri resigned as Prime Minister-designate.
“Today’s announcement that Saad Hariri is resigning as Prime Minister-designate is yet another disappointing development for the Lebanese people,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Hariri said that his new government lineup of 24 non-partisan figures had been rejected.
The international community, led by the US and France, has repeatedly called for Lebanese politicians to set aside their personal interests for the country’s sake, which is quickly deteriorating.
“The political class in Lebanon has squandered the past nine months. The Lebanese economy is in fast fall, and the current administration is failing to deliver basic services. Leaders in Beirut must put a side differences and build a government that serves the Lebanese people as soon as possible. That is exactly what the people of Lebanon require,” Blinken stated.
“It is important that a government committed to and capable of implementing priority reforms be created now,” the top US diplomat added. The government must also start planning for the parliamentary elections in 2022, which must be held on time and in a free and fair manner.”
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan discussed the crisis-struck Mediterranean country with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday before Blinken held separate talks with the French diplomat on Lebanon Thursday.
According to local exchange dealers, following Hariri’s move, the Lebanese pound plunged to a new record low at 21,150. The pound had been pegged to the US dollar at 1,507.5 for decades before the nationwide anti-government protests in October 2019.
The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other major international countries have said that they will not provide aid to Lebanon until it implements reforms to combat rampant corruption and mismanagement of public funds.
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