Arab League warns against political stalemate in Lebanon

Cairo, June 17 (IANS) Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, Secretary-General of the Cairo-based Arab League (AL), has warned against the ongoing political stalemate in Lebanon that has resulted in serious social and economic crises.”It is important to swiftly form a new technocratic government that would be able to make necessary reforms,” Aboul-Gheit said on Wednesday in a statement.He noted that all the political factions in Lebanon should take the responsibility to rescue the country from the political crisis.Aboul-Gheit’s remarks came during a meeting with Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo.”The Arab League stands in solidarity with Lebanon in the light of the difficult humanitarian, economic and political conditions the country passes through,” the statement quoted Aboul-Gheit as further saying.Lebanon has been in a governmental vacuum because of the factions’ disagreements over the assignment of ministerial posts and the form and nature of the future government.In their last meeting held in March, Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri have failed to reach a consensus on cabinet formation, raising concerns about further instability and a total economic and financial collapse in the country.It was the 18th meeting between Aoun and Hariri on the cabinet formation, which has been stalled since last October over disagreements on the number of ministers, distribution of portfolios and veto power.Hariri, who was assigned to form a new cabinet in October 2020, has repeatedly said he will only form a cabinet of 18 specialists in line with the French initiative, with no veto power granted to any party.Lebanon has witnessed a political deadlock since the resignation of Hassan Diab’s government in the wake of the Port of Beirut blasts on August 4, 2020, which claimed the lives of 190 people, injured at least 6,000 others and left some 300,000 homeless.Over a month later, former Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Adib announced of his failure to form a new government.The Beirut blasts and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated the country’s economic situation, driving thousands of companies out of business while leaving thousands of people unemployed.Figures released by the World Bank showed that over 50 per cent of the Lebanese people have become “poor”. In a new report released on June 1, the World Bank said that Lebanon’s prolonged severe economic depression may place it among the 10 most severe crises globally since the mid-19th century.–IANSksk/

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