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Pompeo Calls on Lebanon to ‘Urgently’ Form New Cabinet

Pompeo Calls on Lebanon to ‘Urgently’ Form New Cabinet

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019 - 05:15
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivers a speech at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece October 5, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/Pool

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday urged Lebanon's political leaders to help form a new government responsive to the needs of its people after Saad Hariri resigned as prime minister following huge protests against the ruling class and corruption.

"The United States calls on Lebanon's political leaders to urgently facilitate the formation of a new government that can build a stable, prosperous, and secure Lebanon that is responsive to the needs of its citizens," Pompeo said in a statement.

Hariri announced his resignation, bowing to nearly two weeks of unprecedented nationwide protests against rampant corruption and sectarianism.

"The peaceful demonstrations and expressions of national unity over the last 13 days have sent a clear message. The Lebanese people want an efficient and effective government, economic reform, and an end to endemic corruption," he said.

"Any violence or provocative actions must stop, and we call upon Lebanon's army and security services to continue to ensure the rights and safety of the protesters," Pompeo added.

Prior to Hariri's televised speech on Tuesday, loyalists attacked protesters at two sites, including at a rally near the government headquarters on Riad al-Solh square.

They had chanted slogans - hailing Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah and Speaker Nabih Berri, who is Amal movement head - as they pushed roadblocks aside, destroyed sit-in tents and provoked protesters.

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