Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has warned that Lebanon will face “dangerous circumstances” if political leaders do not embrace “true reforms.”
“Lebanon’s future is in the hands of the Lebanese,” the minister said in English in an interview with CNN.
“We hope that the Lebanese and the Lebanese leaderships… will take a real, serious look at the situation that Lebanon is in and come together to embrace true reforms — political reforms and economic reforms that can address the challenges that Lebanon face and can deliver sustainable solutions for the future,” he added.
He cautioned that “unless the Lebanese political leadership is willing to do that,” he fears that Lebanon will be heading to “ever more dangerous circumstances.”
“The status quo in Lebanon is no longer workable,” the minister stressed.
“The kingdom doesn’t feel that it is appropriate to continue to subsidize or continue to support the status quo,” he added.
Asked about Hizbullah’s role, Prince Faisal lamented that “a non-state actor, Hizbullah, has a de facto rule, veto, over everything that happens in that country and has control over its key infrastructure.”
“The political class does very little to address the challenges that the ordinary Lebanese people face, whether it is endemic corruption, mismanagement and all of these things,” he decried.
He added: “Lebanon needs a true reform agenda and we hope that the Lebanese politicians can come together to embrace such an agenda. If they do, we will stand there to support them.”
Asked whether PM-designate Saad Hariri can deliver that reform agenda, the Saudi minister said the kingdom is “ready to support a robust and real reform agenda.”
“We hope that Saad Hariri and others can deliver that. If we see a real reform agenda from whomever it is in Lebanon, we will stand behind that,” the Saudi minister said.
“We are not standing behind individuals in Lebanon. We will be ready to stand behind Lebanon as long as the Lebanese political class take real steps to address the problems that Lebanon faces,” he explained.