Lebanese Prime Minister-designate al-Hariri resigns

BEIRUT — Following the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri following a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace, he explained his decision in a televised interview.

In an interview with Al-Jadeed TV, al-Hariri stated that he had given up on trying to form a government after it became clear that President Aoun would not give confidence to the 24 ministers he selected.

Al-Hariri refused to talk about Saudi Arabia being behind the faltering formation of the government and declared that the problem is Aoun’s closeness with Hezbollah.

“Saudi Arabia has given peace to Lebanon and only wants the best for Lebanon and its people,” he added.

On the reason for his recent visit to Egypt, al-Hariri said that he went to extract Egyptian gas through Syria, with the aim of reducing the electricity bill of the new government even though he is not strictly in a position to do so.

Al-Hariri stressed that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is keen for a government to be formed in Lebanon.

Western and Arab reactions have steadily come in, including those of the U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who said that this is another disappointing development for the Lebanese people.

They both considered that the Lebanese political class have wasted the last nine months leaving the economy of Lebanon in a state of collapse, adding that the current government is incapable of providing even basic services reliably.

They called on Lebanese politicians to leave their partisan disputes and form a government that serves the Lebanese people.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian considered the failure to form a government appalling and criticized the country’s ruling political class, indicating that there is a complete lack of ability of the Lebanese leaders to reach a solution to the crisis they caused.

Secretary-General of the League of Arab States Ahmed Aboul Gheit stated that the consequences of al-Hariri’s resignation may be dangerous for the future situation in Lebanon and blamed the Lebanese leaders for the collapse and the crisis in the country.

He also pledged the Arab League’s continued support for Lebanon and its people.