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UK envoy: ‘We support formation of new government in Lebanon’

Demonstrators gather to stage a protest against the government's policy on easing the economical crisis in Beirut, Lebanon on October 22, 2019 [Mahmut Geldi / Anadolu Agency]
Demonstrators gather to stage a protest against the government's policy on easing the economical crisis in Beirut, Lebanon on 22 October 2019 [Mahmut Geldi/Anadolu Agency]

Richard Moore, Director General for Political Affairs at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, expressed on Monday his country’s support for the formation of a new government in Lebanon, stressing that the British endorsement of this step does not mean “interference” in the country’s internal affairs.

This came during a meeting held between Moore and President Michel Aoun, at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut.

The meeting was held within the framework of an exploratory visit by the British official to Lebanon to discuss developments currently taking place in the country.

According to a statement issued by the Lebanese presidency, of which the Anadolu Agency obtained a copy, Moore indicated that “Britain supports the formation of a new government. However, this support should not be taken as a form of interference in the Lebanese internal affairs.”

Moore briefed Aoun on the recent meeting held in Paris, in the presence of representatives from France, Britain and the United States, which was devoted in part to discussing the situation in Lebanon and ways to help the country overcome the crisis.

For his part, Aoun praised “the Lebanon-United Kingdom relations and the ongoing cooperation between both countries in all fields, most notably Britain’s support for the Lebanese army.”

Aoun considered that “signing the Lebanese-British partnership agreement was the latest diplomatic milestone achieved before the government’s resignation.”

He explained to Moore “the situation in Lebanon, especially the initial causes of the current crisis and the available options for resolving it.”

READ: Lebanese protesters clash with supporters of Hezbollah, Amal in Beirut

The Lebanese are closely following calls to strike made by the activists of the popular movement via social media platforms, at a time when life in Beirut went back to normal, as banks and schools resumed their activities despite the calls for a strike.

Following the meeting with Aoun, Moore met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri at his residence in downtown Beirut.

The meeting dealt with the overall situation and developments in Lebanon, and the nature of the mission carried out by the British envoy, according to a statement issued by Hariri’s office, of which the Anadolu Agency obtained a copy.

Moore also met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil at the ministry’s headquarters in Beirut, according to a recent statement, which did not disclose further details about the meeting.

Following the discussions he held with Aoun, Hariri and Bassil, the British envoy met with Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon, Nabih Berri, on the same day in Beirut.

READ: What roles do Iran, Saudi and UAE play in the popular uprisings in Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria

According to a statement issued by the Office of the Parliament, of which the Anadolu Agency obtained a copy, Moore reiterated “his country’s commitment to supporting efforts to form a new government, as the United Kingdom continues to support Lebanon in various fields.”

The British envoy is in talks with Lebanese officials on the latest developments in the country.

For the second month in a row, Lebanon is witnessing widespread unrest demanding the formation of technocracy, with the main task of undertaking reforms to save the country from the current political and economic impasse.

Lebanon is suffering its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War.

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