Aoun promises Cabinet in a week as Mideast tensions escalate

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“I hope that the government will see the light next week,” Aoun tweeted.

by Georgi Azar -Source: Annahar

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, left, meets with Lebanese newly-assigned Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, right, at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (AP)

BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun expressed hope Friday that a new government would be formed by next week, saying that it would bolster both “internal and external confidence.”

Aoun took to Twitter to assert that the government would go a long way in dealing with the current financial crisis gripping Lebanon.

“I hope that the government will see the light next week,” Aoun tweeted.

Aoun also vowed to implement the Mckinsey plan, which was released last year in a bid to revamp Lebanon’s ailing economic model.

“Work is underway to form the government of new faces of experts to deal with the current situation and respond to the attitudes and aspirations of the Lebanese,” the president said.

Ever since he assumed office, Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab has pledged to follow through on protestor’s demands to form a Cabinet made up of specialized individuals not belonging to any political party.

Diab, however, was nominated by Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, casting doubt on any Cabinet’s true independence.

Aoun’s comments came hours after the U.S launched an airstrike on Baghdad’s airport, killing Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

In response, Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” for the killing of its top general, who had been the architect of its interventions across the Middle East.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry meanwhile condemned the attack, labeling it a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a dangerous escalation against Iran that would increase tension in the region.”

“Lebanon always encourages dialogue, restraint and wisdom to solve problems instead of using force and violence in regional and international relations,” a statement read.

It also called on all stakeholders to spare the region and Lebanon of “any repercussions of the attack as it battles with a stifling economic and financial crisis.”

Hezbollah, Iran’s biggest proxy in the region, vowed that the party would continue the path of Soleimani and underscored that the “murderous Americans would not be able, God willing, to achieve any of their goals with this great crime”.

Iranian top officials were quick to lambast the killing, promising swift and severe retaliation for the assassination

“We will avenge Soleimani death at the right time and in the right place,” a top official said Friday, labeling the attack as the U.S’ biggest strategic mistakes in decades.

 

 

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