BEIRUT: U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale arrived to Beirut Friday, and after discussing developments in Lebanon in separate meetings with president Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and outgoing PM Saad Hariri, he underlined the need for Lebanese leaders to commit to the implementation of sustained reforms in order to put Lebanon back on the security and prosperity track.
He denied media reports that his visit was designed to influence the makeup of the new government.
On Saturday he met with several political leaders in Lebanon
He met with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, after which the latter tweeted that their meeting was “friendly and honest.”
Hale next met with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea at the LF headquarters in Maarab.
The LF leader said after their meeting that Lebanon is in need of financial aid and that foreign powers will not help Lebanon if anyone from the old guard is in the new government.
Hale later met with caretaker Foreign Minister and leader of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil at his residence in Bayada in Rabieh.
According to local TV channel LBC, Bassil and Hale discussed the issue of Amer al-Fakhoury, who recently entered Lebanon, in addition to many other topics.
“For far too long, too many leaders here have prioritized partisan interests or personal gain over the national interest. And today we see the effects of this pattern,” he said Firday, referring to the mass protests.
The U.S official also said American help for Lebanon to ride out the economic crisis was conditional on implementation of reforms.
Hale did not meet Hassan Diab who was designated as prime minister by President Michel Aoun Wednesday, after gaining the support of the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its allies
Parliamentary consultations with Diab began Saturday to discuss the formation of the new government.