U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker arrived Wednesday evening in Lebanon for talks with civil society groups but not political leaders, in an apparent snub to the ruling class.
In an interview with the pan-Arab Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Schenker said the new Lebanese government must believe in reforms and implement them.
“There is a need for a government that cares about its people and their demands, a responsible and transparent government that carries out economic and political reforms,” he said.
“It will no longer be business as usual,” he added.
In a recent statement, the U.S. State Department said Schenker “will meet with civil society representatives, discuss U.S. assistance efforts in the wake of the August 4 Beirut port explosion, and urge Lebanese leaders to implement reforms that respond to the Lebanese people’s desire for transparency, accountability, and a government free of corruption.”