Lebanese PM-designate Steps Down Amid Political Turmoil
Saturday, 26 September 2020 10:54 AM
Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, September 26, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib has announced his resignation amid a deadlock over government formation in the crisis-hit country.
In a televised address on Saturday, Adib said he was stepping down from “the task of forming the government” following a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
He also noted that the kind of cabinet that he wanted to establish “was bound to fail” and that he was keen on protecting national unity.
“I apologize to the Lebanese people,” he added.
The announcement came almost a month after Adib, former Lebanese ambassador to Berlin, was appointed by the president to form a new government.
Lebanon is currently mired in the country’s worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.
It has been waiting for a new administration since outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned on August 10, a few days after a powerful explosion in the capital killed more than nearly 200 people, injured thousands and caused losses worth billions of dollars.
The blast took place in Beirut port warehouses storing highly explosive material, specifically ammonium nitrate, commonly used in both fertilizer and bombs.
The explosion — one of the biggest non-nuclear explosions the world has ever seen — flattened much of the strategic port and left buildings in ruin.
Following the blast, the US and European countries have been mounting pressure on Lebanese officials to form a government that secures the West’s interests.
The United States on September 8 slapped sanctions on two former cabinet ministers in Lebanon over support for Hezbollah as it vowed to isolate the resistance movement.
French President Emmanuel Macron paid two visits to Lebanon, where he called for a “new political pact” among Lebanese political factions and said he had proposed a roadmap to authorities to unlock billions of dollars in funds from the international community.
In a meeting with Aoun, Macron threatened Lebanese leaders with sanctions if they do not submit to reforms and a “political change,” Lebanon's Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network reported.
Lebanese people have taken to the social media to vent their anger at French President Emmanuel Macron over his uninvited visit to Lebanon and his "colonial mentality".
The French president’s colonial-style sojourn sparked a swift backlash among the Lebanese nation.
Many Twitter users denounced what they deemed as interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon, which gained independence from the French colonial rule more than seven decades ago.