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Arab League Advises Lebanon’s PM to Hold Dialogue with Protesters

Arab League Advises Lebanon’s PM to Hold Dialogue with Protesters

Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 07:15
A demonstrator has her face painted in the colours of the Lebanese flag during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The Arab League advised Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday “to initiate talks with representatives from the popular movement” to resolve his country's “dangerous crisis.”

A diplomatic source, who attended a meeting between the International Support Group for Lebanon and the PM at the Grand Serail in Beirut on Tuesday, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Arab League Representative Ambassador Abdel Rahman Solh informed Hariri of the League’s stance from the protests sweeping Beirut and other cities.

“Lebanon cannot face the consensus supporting the popular intifada, which gathered around 1.5 million protesters in the squares of Beirut and other areas,” the source said.

He said Solh explained to Hariri that the Arab League does not interfere in Lebanon’s internal affairs. However, the organization wants to help the country overcome its current crisis.

The source added: “Another meeting of ISG representatives was held on Wednesday in Yarzeh upon the request of UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis, who attended Tuesday’s meeting at the Grand Serail.”

Asharq Al-Awsat learned that participants in the Yarzeh meeting tasked Kubis to meet with President Michel Aoun on Thursday and inform him about the results of the Group’s talks with Hariri and its meeting in Yarzeh.

The ISG decided that the government should kick off direct talks with representatives from the popular movement instead of addressing each other through the media.

On the seventh day of demonstrations, hundreds of thousands of people remained on the streets over their anger with a political class they accuse of pushing the economy to the point of collapse.

On Thursday, banks remained close for a sixth working day and all schools and universities remained shut.

Protesters also shut down many highways across the country, despite attempts from the Lebanese Army to unblock them.

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