Diab Threatens to Suspend His Duties as Caretaker PM


Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab warned Saturday that the country was quickly headed toward chaos and appealed to politicians to put aside differences in order form a new government that can attract desperately needed foreign assistance.

Diab threatened to suspend his duties if that would increase pressure for a new Cabinet to be formed.

He spoke in a terse address to the nation as the currency continued its rapid collapse against the dollar, trading at one point at 10,500 Lebanese pounds on the black market for the first time in its history. Angry protesters have blocked streets and highways across the country with burning tires for days, as the pound slid to record new lows.

The crash in the local currency has resulted in a sharp increase in prices as well as delays in the arrival of fuel shipments, leading to more extended power cuts around the country, in some areas reaching more than 12 hours a day. The crisis has driven nearly half the population of the small country of 6 million into poverty, wiped out savings and slashed consumer purchasing power.

Diab, who resigned in the wake of the massive August 4 explosion at Beirut port, suggested he might stop working in his role.

"If it helps to form a government, I am prepared to resort to that option even though it goes against my principles," he said.

In October, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was named to form a new Cabinet but five months later, disagreements between him and President Michel Aoun on the shape of the Cabinet has stood in the way of a new government's formation.

Lebanon has also been in desperate need of foreign currency, but international donors have said they will only help the country financially if major reforms are implemented to fight widespread corruption, which has brought the nation to the brink of bankruptcy.

"What are you waiting for, more collapse? More suffering? Chaos?" he said, chiding senior politicians without naming them for grandstanding on the shape and size of the government while the country slides further into the abyss.

"What will having one minister more or less (in the cabinet) do if the entire country collapses," he asked.

"Lebanon is in grave danger and the Lebanese are paying the price."

Comments 5
Thumb milou 06 March 2021, 19:46

No one was aware you were working hard Mr Prime Minister. Would it make a difference if you went on strike? #Lebanon #Surrealism

Thumb justin 06 March 2021, 20:39

Dollar to LBP Exchange Rate Today
Buy 1 USD at 10,800 LBP
Sell 1 USD at 10,700 LBP
Updated 58 minutes ago

Thumb warrior 06 March 2021, 23:04

ما زال "الدولار" يشهد قفزةً جنونية، اذ تراوح سعر صرفه في السوق السوداء بين 10900 و11 الف ليرة.

Default-user-icon cocoman (Guest) 07 March 2021, 08:05

He is still around Hassan Akbar Injazati??

Missing 5-7doud 07 March 2021, 18:53

You mean he's been doing something?