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Lebanon: President hopes for new government within days

Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Beirut, Lebanon on 24 October 2019 [Presidency of Lebanon/Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese President Michel Aoun in Beirut, Lebanon on 24 October 2019 [Presidency of Lebanon/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has expressed his hope for the formation of a new government in the coming days, after overcoming the obstacles which may hinder its composition. “The demands made by the protesters in the squares are being followed-up,” tweeted Aoun. “These will be one of the government’s first objectives, following its formation, which we are working to achieve in the near future.”

Dealing with these developments is based on considerations of the national interest, added the presidential office. “This requires cooperation with everyone to reach the desired goals.”

The Director of the North Africa and Middle East Department at the French Foreign Ministry is visiting Lebanon due to the current crisis. “The great difficulties faced by Lebanon are a matter of concern to all,” said Christophe Farno during a press conference at the French Ambassador’s official residence. “The country needs the quick formation of a government, which needs to be fast, efficient, effective and capable of taking decisions that meet the Lebanese people’s aspirations and restore their trust in state institutions.”

He added that France has always stood by Lebanon in good and difficult times. “We are aware of the crisis facing Lebanon, which is an economic, political and social one. The aim of my visit is to listen to and understand what the Lebanese citizens want and not to impose solutions.”

REVIEW: Democracy in Lebanon

Farno’s mission, he explained, is set within the framework of robust friendship ties between the two countries and respect for the sovereignty of Lebanon.

Meanwhile, local media have reported that Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi, the head of the Maronite Church, has contacted political leaders, especially those among Lebanon’s Christians, including former President Amine Gemayel and Samir Geagea, the leader of Christian political party the Lebanese Forces. The Patriarch expressed his rejection of moving backwards, whether through the construction of a separation wall in the tunnel of Al-Kalb River or armed confrontations in Jal El Dib, north of Beirut.

Street protests have been going on in Lebanon for almost a month. Protesters are campaigning against corruption, falling living standards and the collapsing economy. On Wednesday, Lebanese security forces were deployed outside Baabda, following calls to demonstrate in front of the Presidential Palace in the town.

The situation deteriorated following the death of activist Alaa Abu Fakhr, who was shot by a policeman on Tuesday. His funeral was held yesterday near his home in Choueifat, south of Beirut.

READ:  ‘No need to panic’ – Lebanon banking body tells depositors as protests continue

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