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Lebanon: Hale’s Meetings Stress US Calls for Reforms

Lebanon: Hale’s Meetings Stress US Calls for Reforms

Sunday, 22 December, 2019 - 10:00
US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale meets with caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil (NNA)

Meetings held by the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, on Saturday in Beirut reinforced the assertion that the Americans “have no prior position on the government”, but “highlight the importance of reforms.”


Hale met on Saturday with Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader Walid Jumblatt, who later tweeted: “A friendly and open meeting with the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador David Hale.”


The US official also met with Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea, in a “protocol encounter” as described by the latter.


“We have presented our vision of the situation in Lebanon and the region,” Geagea added.


Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil invited Hale for lunch at his residence. Sources said the meeting was “more than positive.”


LBC channel reported that the two officials held a closed meeting and touched on various files. Sources noted in this regard that the Americans “have no prior position on the government and are awaiting its formation and program, while stressing the importance of reforms.”


In remarks following his meeting with Hale, Geagea reiterated that his party would not participate in the new government.


“All ministers must be independent in the next government, but there are those who try to play a bad game, especially in this circumstance, by bringing technocrats who are not independent. In such a case, we will make no progress,” he said.


“If the government is not formed the way we are suggesting, no economic recovery will take place, and the financial situation will continue to deteriorate,” he warned.


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