U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea on Monday met with president Michel Aoun and PM designate Najib Mikati to offered her country’s “sincere condolences over the loss of life and grievous injuries suffered in yesterday’s explosion in Akkar.”
“Earlier today, I met with Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mikati, and we discussed the status of Lebanese efforts to form a government quickly. And I just now concluded a meeting with President Michel Aoun, in which we discussed the same topic,” Shea said after talks with Aoun in Baabda.
“I reiterated the absolute urgency of the situation. The Lebanese people are suffering. The economy and basic services have reached the precipice of collapse. Every day that goes by without an empowered government committed to and able to implement urgently needed reforms is a day in which the already dire situation slides further into humanitarian catastrophe,” Shea warned.
She added that the United States and the international community are “partnering to provide direct support to the people of Lebanon,” and “will continue to do so.”
“As I stand here, I have colleagues urgently working on the aid that President Biden recently announced to help where basic, sometimes lifesaving, services have failed. This is the government’s responsibility, but we know the people of Lebanon cannot wait,” Shea said.
“In parallel, we urge those who continue to block government formation and reform to put aside partisan interests,” the ambassador added.
She also said that Washington welcomes the EU’s new sanctions framework to “promote accountability and reform in Lebanon,” adding that the United States “will continue to coordinate with our partners on appropriate measures.”
“Lebanon needs its leaders to take urgent rescue action, and that can’t happen without an empowered, reform-focused government that begins to address the needs of the people and begins the hard work of economic recovery. It’s not going to happen without leadership, but it can happen,” Shea added
The Lebanese people were expecting today an announcement about the new government that will be formed by Mikati during his meeting with Aoun today but as in the past meeting Aoun reportedly presented obstacles that prevented the formation of the cabinet .
Mikati who has been very patient in dealing with Aoun talked to the media at the end of the meeting and reiterated that the time to form the cabinet is not open-ended and that the country is in urgent need to have a government .
Responding to a reporter’s question, Mikati said: “The chances of forming a government are higher than those of stepping down. There is no specific deadline but the time frame is not open-ended.”
There were many calls on Aoun to resign following yesterday’s explosion in Akkar, but he refused to resign:
“I will not resign and I will perform my duties until the end,” the President emphasized on Monday.
“I hope that the phase of rebuilding Lebanon psychologically and materially will start with me before being complete by the new president,” Aoun went on to say after being the witness to the complete destruction of Lebanon’s economy during his rein .