Arab News Digest

News from the Arab World


Caretaker Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, delivered this Wednesday the following statement:

“Dear Fellow Lebanese,

Three hundred days have passed since the resignation of my government, and Lebanon continues to go through a tunnel that is getting darker, and whenever a glimmer appears on the horizon, it is quenched by political calculations that no longer consider the fate of the country or the suffering of the Lebanese who are exhausted by the search for medication, children’s milk or gasoline; they are grappling with the surge in prices that have far exceeded their purchasing power and incomes; their frustration is taking root and is pushing some of them to search for hope and relief away from their homeland, which is losing, on a daily basis, its scientific competencies and youth, along with capability erosion, in the absence of a new government.

Over the past fifteen years, the vacuum has become the norm in the country, while the presence of the state and its institutions is the exception.

Today, however, hopes of a way out of the impasse are trapped in a vicious circle, with the stalemate turning into a national crisis that threatens what remains of the State’s foundations, the constitution, and institutions.

But what is most dangerous is the negative repercussions that this crisis leaves on the daily lives of the Lebanese who are reliving painful memories from not so long ago, in the context of the multifaceted collapse, as if some were seeking to replicate these memories on purpose.

Without going back to recounting facts that have become known to the Lebanese, let us say that the current financial crisis is the result of the accumulation of errors in financial policies that were set to be addressed through the road map we established in the recovery plan adopted by our government, and which constituted the basis for our negotiations with the International Monetary Fund. Today, the recovery plan, which was stopped with the resignation of the government, requires a full-fledged government that concludes negotiations with the IMF to put the country on the way out of the severe crisis that is weighing on Lebanon and the Lebanese.

Today, we are facing a very difficult reality, which the World Bank reflected in its report a few days ago, when it considered that Lebanon was mired in an economic collapse that is likely to rank in the top 10 most severe crises episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century, with no solution in the horizon that would lead it out of a dire reality exacerbated by political inaction.

The World Bank’s stance is confirmed by the following facts:

First – The inability to form a new government to deal with severe financial, social, living and economic problems.

Second – The political forces’ failure to rise to the level of national responsibility and lack of understanding of the crisis’ magnitude and repercussions.

Third – The continued suspension of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

Fourth – The continued freeze of the recovery plan set by our government.

Fifth – The Lebanese Central Bank’s reduction of budgetary allocation for importing basic commodities.

Sixth – The unavailability of medicines, children’s milk and fuels with some traders stockpiling basic materials.

Seventh – The smuggling of various basic materials in many different ways, despite efforts to confront smuggling in its various forms.

Eighth – The systematic decline in securing the minimum living, social, pharmaceutical and service requirements of the Lebanese people, including gasoline, diesel and electricity.

Ninth – A severe drain on scientific and human capital.

Tenth – An external siege imposed on Lebanon, with various pressures exerted to prevent aid from reaching it, so as to push it into a total collapse.

All these facts bring the country on the verge of a systemic collapse, whose victims will be the Lebanese, while the political forces will rise again to present themselves as saviours for the people and the country.

The collapse, if it occurs, God forbid, will have very serious repercussions, not only on the Lebanese, but on those residing on its land as well, in addition to brotherly and friendly countries, by land or by sea, and no one will be able to control the tides.

I sincerely address two appeals: one to the Lebanese, and the other to the brothers and friends of Lebanon.

To the Lebanese, I urge them to be patient with the injustice they are enduring or that will affect them as a result of any decision taken by any party and which will increase their suffering.

I do not want to accuse anyone, because the current stage requires the highest degree of responsibility in order to be able to alleviate the pain of the collapse in the event that it occurs, God forbid.

I call on the political forces to make concessions, which are small, no matter how strong they may be, for they will ease the suffering of the Lebanese and stop the frightening spiral. Cabinet formation, about ten months after the resignation of our government, is a priority that supersedes all other goals or files.

Fear God for the innocent people who are paying an exorbitant price.

To the brothers and friends of Lebanon, I appeal to them not to hold the Lebanese accountable for what they are not responsible for. The Lebanese people are expecting their brothers and friends to stand by them and help them in their severe ordeal, not to watch their suffering or contribute to deepening it.

I appeal to brothers and friends, Lebanon is in serious jeopardy. Either you rescue it now before it is too late, or else “there is no time for regrets.”

O God, I have delivered the message, may You be my witness!

O God, I have delivered the message, may You be my witness!

O God, I have delivered the message, may You be my witness!

God bless Lebanon!

God bless the Lebanese! — Press Office

Source: National News Agency