Salam Says Lebanon Breaking Down

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has warned that Lebanon is breaking down because of differences between the rival political parties and their failure to resolve controversial issues.

Salam told the Washington Post in an interview that the 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon “are a burden because they share our electricity, our water, our schools, our roads, our commerce, our jobs — and yes, the Lebanese are tired of this.”

“But the (real) breakdown in Lebanon will take place because of the inability to solve the problems of the country, like the garbage issue and others,” he said.

The garbage crisis erupted when Lebanon's largest landfill in Naameh was closed on July 17. Trash began piling up on the streets, leading to anti-government demonstrations.

The main activist group behind the protests is the “You Stink” movement.

“I can’t blame them at all,” Salam told his interviewer about the protesters.

“I respect their anger, because it is emanating from a reality: the weakness in almost everything as a result of the stalemate the country is going through — the incapacity of electing a new president for the past year and four months, the paralysis of legitimate institutions like the parliament, and the paralysis also seeping through to the Council of Ministers,” he said.

Asked about the vacuum at the Baabda Palace, Salam said: “Solving the problem in Lebanon requires much less effort. It only requires the international big powers and the regional ones to get together and say, “Yes, we will support this guy as a president,” and things will start moving.”

Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 as a result of differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances.

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