Lebanon's foreign minister resigns amid economic crisis

Cheryl Sanders
August 5, 2020

It was not immediately clear whether his resignation would be accepted and whether one of the other ministers would assume his responsibilities in a caretaker capacity until a new minister is appointed. "That is President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement", political sources commenting on the issue to al-Joumhouria daily.

"Will this cry of deep frustration move Lebanon to finally work on reforms, on measures taking care of the Lebanese, sinking every day deeper into poverty and desperation?" tweeted United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Monday, a government source said.

Hitti was swiftly replaced by Charbel Wehbe, diplomatic adviser to President Michel Aoun and a career diplomat.

Marwan Hamade, a member of the Lebanese parliament, said Hitti had "risen up" against the government to join the people and the revolution again. The interior minister said it had not been informed of the exemptions.

"Lebanon today is not the same that we cherished and wanted as a beacon and a model".

Hitti's resignation shows "that Lebanon is in a state of total confusion", said Hilal Khashan, a professor at the American University of Beirut.

He said he had made a decision to resign "due to the absence of a vision for Lebanon. and the absence of an effective will to achieve comprehensive structural reform".

"If they don't unite in the interest of the Lebanese people. then the ship, God forbid, will sink with everyone on board", he added, warning that Lebanon risked becoming a "failed state".

Hitti submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Hitti, a former ambassador to the Arab League, was appointed in January when Diab's cabinet took office with the support of the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement and its allies. The Lebanese economy since teetered on the verge of collapse and the pound lost around 80 percent of its value on the black market.

Local media reports said Hitti also was angered by Diab's criticism of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian following his visit to Beirut last month during which he said Lebanon will not be getting any financial assistance before initiating substantive reforms.

Lebanon has been witnessing nationwide protests since October 17 which led to the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government while President Michel Aoun has so far failed to hold parliamentary consultations for naming a new prime minister tasked with the formation of a cabinet capable of dealing with the current financial crisis.

Other reports by iNewsToday