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Lebanon Int’l Support Group Surprised that Diab Supporters are Hindering his Mission

Lebanon Int’l Support Group Surprised that Diab Supporters are Hindering his Mission

Monday, 30 December, 2019 - 08:00
Student protesters wave national flags as they protest against the government in front of the education ministry in Beirut, Lebanon, Nov. 7, 2019. (AP)

The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) expressed surprise on Sunday over reports from its ambassadors to the country that obstacles have been set to hinder Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab to form a new government by the very political parties that supported his nomination.

Those political leaders seek to hinder Diab’s mission by making demands that contradict his hope to form a cabinet that pleases the popular protests and eases the crisis of trust between them and the political class, one ambassador told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.

Moreover, he said the ISG understands the positions of parliamentary blocs and deputies that refused to nominate Diab, particularly caretaker PM Saad Hariri, the head of the largest Sunni parliamentary bloc in the country.

Another ISG ambassador told Asharq Al-Awsat that France recently contacted other members of the Group and decided against abandoning the political situation in Lebanon. It instead urged the speeding up of the formation of a cabinet that can resolve the country’s social, financial and economic crisis and implement the CEDRE reforms, which would restore local, Arab and regional trust.

Earlier this month, the ISG held a meeting in Paris to help Lebanon resolve its current crisis.

The ISG had urged Lebanon to endorse a large, reliable and comprehensive policy package to implement economic reforms that restore the country’s financial stability and address long-term structural deficiencies.

A Lebanese ambassador, who attended the ISG meeting, told Asharq Al-Awsat that secret measures were taken by the Group to help Diab complete his mission, if he wishes to.

“The Group is ready to remove obstacles that delay the formation of a new cabinet by kicking off contacts between the ISG and the political team hindering Diab’s mission,” the envoy revealed.

He added that the ISG is also studying how Diab could approach the popular movement, which opposed his nomination.

“If Diab fails in his mission, it would be difficult to find another Sunni figure who accepts to form a new government,” the ambassador noted.

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