Lebanon

France announces aid conference to help crisis-hit Lebanon

Saad al-Hariri's departure comes after nine months of deliberations with President Michel Aoun over a cabinet line-up that could have set in motion a plan to rescue the country from financial meltdown.
Saad al-Hariri's departure comes after nine months of deliberations with President Michel Aoun over a cabinet line-up that could have set in motion a plan to rescue the country from financial meltdown. REUTERS - DALATI NOHRA

France is to host an aid conference for Lebanon after Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri abandoned his attempt to form a government, further plunging the country into economic chaos. 

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Organised with the support of the United Nations, the fundraiser will be held on 4 August – the first anniversary of a port explosion in Beirut that killed some 200 people.

The French foreign ministry said Hariri's exit confirmed a political deadlock deliberately continued by Lebanese leaders “even as the country sinks into unprecedented economic and social crisis”.

His departure comes after nine months of deliberations with President Michel Aoun over a cabinet line-up that could have set in motion a plan to rescue the country from financial meltdown.

Second failure

Hariri is the second candidate to fail at forming a government in less than a year. 

"If I formed the government that Michel Aoun wanted... I wouldn't have been able to run the country, because this isn't a cabinet I can work with," Hariri told Lebanon's Al-Jadeed TV.

There are no apparent alternatives to fill his position.

Lebanon now faces soaring poverty, a plummeting currency, renewed street protests and shortages of basic items including medicine and fuel.

The lira is 20,000 to the dollar on the black market, having lost more than 90 percent of its value this year.

The World Bank has described the crisis as one of the worst in modern history.

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