Aoun promises Cabinet in a week as Mideast tensions escalate

01/04/2020 - 20:47 PM

Fadia\'s Hair Stles

 

by Georgi Azar

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

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 a government comprised of new faces of experts in a bid to deal with the current situation and respond to the 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 experts with no political affiliations. 

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 near 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 tensions 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 by the ministry 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."

The Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group Hezbollah vowed that the party would follow in the footsteps of Soleimani, underscoring 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 mistake in decades.

 

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