Foreign envoys issue stern warning to Lebanon

Published February 13th, 2023 - 07:08 GMT
Arab and foreign ambassadors
A handout picture provided by the Lebanese Parliament website shows Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri (3rd-L) posing for a group photo with the ambassadors of Egypt Yasser Elwi (L), France Anne Grillo (2nd-L), the United States Dorothy Shea (3rd-R), Qatar Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Sahlawi (R), and Saudi representative Faris Hasan Amudi (2nd-R), at the parliament headquarters in the capital Beirut on February 13, 2023. (Photo by LEBANESE PARLIAMENT / AFP)

ALBAWABA - Western and Arab diplomats urged Lebanon to elect a new president, or they will reconsider ties with Beirut. 

The country has been without a president since Michel Aoun ended his presidential tenure on Oct. 30, 2022. Lebanon has since been without a president, while parliament met 11 times, but failed to pick a president. 

 Ambassadors and diplomats representing the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt met caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati recently.

They issued a stiff warning for MPs to elect a  president, or else their countries would possibly reconsider their relations with Lebanon. 

They pointed out that a new president is needed to push through ew policies to get the country moving again. They said that the existing caretaker prime minister has limited powers. 

The country has been reeling under a financial crisis in the last few years. International donors will not help, unless fiscal reforms are introduced in the country, backed by a stable political system one of which is choosing a new president.  

"Failing to elect a new president means all ties with Lebanon will be reconsidered," the diplomats said, according to a statement from the prime minister's office, according to AFP.

It added that "real support" for Lebanon will only come after a president is elected and after reforms needed to access billions of dollars in loans from international lenders are enacted, it added.

Representatives of the five countries had met last week in the French capital to discuss Lebanon's crisis, to end months of political instability and put the country on a correct economic course.

But this doesn't seem to be happening as characterized by the diplomats in the Lebanese pound with Monday trading 68,000 to one U.S. dollar.

The foreign delegation that saw the Lebanese Prime Minister at the Grand Serail were envoys accredited in Lebanon. They included U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea, French Ambassador Anne Grillo, Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Elwy, Qatari Ambassador Ibrahim Abdul Aziz al-Sahlawi and Saudi Embassy Counselor Fares al-Amoudi, according to Naharnet.

So the ball is in the court of the Lebanese parliament. However, they have not met since Jan. 19 to elect a president.

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