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Sunday, 28 February 2021

Lebanon's PM-designate Hariri gives president new government line-up

After a meeting at the Baabda palace on Wednesday, Hariri said the president would examine his list of 'non-partisan, expert' ministers and that the 'atmosphere was positive'

Reuters , Wednesday 9 Dec 2020
Saad al-Hariri
FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon October 18, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri presented President Michel Aoun with a line-up of 18 ministers on Wednesday after months of wrangling that blocked a deal on a new government.

Without a credible government, there will be no bailout to save Lebanon from its spiralling financial crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron has warned ahead of his visit to Beirut later this month.

Former colonial ruler France, which has led foreign efforts to help the country, had sought to rally Lebanese leaders to tackle the meltdown but grew frustrated as it got bogged down in fractious sectarian politics.

After a meeting at the Baabda palace on Wednesday, Hariri said the president would examine his list of "non-partisan, expert" ministers and that the "atmosphere was positive".

When he was named premier for a fourth time in October, Hariri pledged to quickly form a government that could revive the French roadmap. But old rifts still plagued cabinet talks as the country hurtles towards what United Nations agencies have warned will be a "social catastrophe".

The economic collapse has pushed at least half the population into poverty and crashed the currency.

The outgoing government quit after the massive explosion at Beirut port in August, which killed more than 200 people and devastated swathes of the capital.

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