This content was published on September 26, 2020 – July 15:38,
The Lebanese Prime Minister-designate, Mustafa Adib, apologized on Saturday for the task of forming the new Lebanese government, amid growing international demands for a government to implement necessary reforms to bring this country out of the worst economic crisis it has faced in decades.
Adeeb said in a televised speech, “I apologized for not pursuing the task of forming the government,” expressing his apology to the Lebanese people for not being able “to achieve what they aspire to.”
The government of his predecessor Hassan Diab, which is currently in charge of conducting business, resigned after the terrible explosion in the Beirut port on the fourth of August, which resulted in the deaths of more than 190 people and thousands of injuries and caused massive destruction in entire areas of the Lebanese capital.
Since his mandate to form the government on August 31, Adeeb has sought to form a government of specialists capable of adopting the necessary reforms.
His efforts clashed, especially with the insistence of the Shiite duo represented by Hezbollah, the most prominent political and military force in the country, and its ally, the Amal Movement, led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, to name their ministers and stick to the money bag.
Observers say that the recent US sanctions on two former ministers, one of them political aide to Berri and former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and then on two companies that Washington said were owned by Hezbollah, increased the duo’s intransigence.
France has been exerting pressure since the port explosion on the political forces to form a government that implements urgent reforms in exchange for international financial support to pull the country out of its economic crisis. The spread of the new Corona virus, and then the explosion exacerbated the catastrophic situation.
On Saturday evening, the French presidency announced that President Emmanuel Macron will speak on Sunday evening at a press conference about the political situation in Lebanon, following Adib’s apology.
Macron had warned on 2 September of “the repercussions of the Lebanese parties’ failure to fulfill their pledges by October.”
– ‘Failure to honor undertakings’ –
At the end of his visit to Beirut at the beginning of this month, Macron announced the commitment of political forces to form a “government with a specific mission” that would undertake basic reforms and restore street confidence, within a period of two weeks. But this period passed without the formation of the new government.
In his televised speech, Adeeb said, “With the effort to form the government reaching its final stages, it became clear to me that this consensus on the basis of which I accepted this national mission (…) is no longer valid.”
The Lebanese presidency said in a statement that President Michel Aoun has accepted a polite apology for the task of forming the government, and will take “appropriate measures in accordance with the requirements of the constitution.”
Aoun said, “The initiative launched by French President Emmanuel Macron is still going on, and he received all my support.”
The country has witnessed accumulated crises since in October, when thousands of Lebanese protested, calling for an improvement in the living conditions and the overthrow of the sectarian political system.
The explosion at the Beirut port again sparked the anger of the Lebanese, this time accompanied by international political pressures, led primarily by France, and its president, Emmanuel Macron, called for a “new political charter” and “real change”.
In the context of the reactions, the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, affirmed his adherence to the French initiative.
A statement by his media office stated that “no one adheres to the French initiative as much as we adhered to it, but there are those who drowned it in contradiction to all established principles.”
Former heads of government Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora, and Tamam Salam issued a joint statement expressing their regret over “circumventing this opportunity that was afforded to Lebanon.”
The statement said, “It has become clear that the parties controlling the authority are still in a state of severe denial and refusal to realize the size of the terrible dangers to which Lebanon has become exposed.”
“We say to those who applaud today for the fall of the French president’s initiative (…) that you will bite your fingers in regret,” said former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a statement, expressing his regret for “an exceptional opportunity that will be difficult to repeat to stop the economic collapse.”
For his part, the Special Coordinator of the United Nations in Lebanon, Jan Kubis, said in a tweet, “Hey (Lebanese) politicians, have you really spoiled this exceptional opportunity created by France?”
He added, “When will you finally stop your usual games, and listen to the cries and needs of people.”
The Lebanese president had warned Monday that the country was heading towards “hell” if the political forces did not agree to form a government.