Pompeo on Lebanon: Only a Cabinet Committed to Reform Will Unlock Int’l Aid

FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, US, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, US, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Pompeo on Lebanon: Only a Cabinet Committed to Reform Will Unlock Int’l Aid

FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, US, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces new sanctions on Iran in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, US, January 10, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The United States called Wednesday on the new government of Lebanese PM Hassan Diab to enact serious reforms to tackle the twin challenges of a collapsing economy and angry street protests.

"The test of Lebanon's new government will be its actions and its responsiveness to the demands of the Lebanese people to implement reforms and to fight corruption," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

"Only a government that is capable of and committed to undertaking real and tangible reforms will restore investor confidence and unlock international assistance for Lebanon," he added.

Diab said Wednesday his country faces a "catastrophe" after the cabinet held its first meeting.

A long-brewing discontent has been compounded by fears of a total economic collapse in recent weeks, with a liquidity crunch pushing banks to impose crippling capital controls.

On Wednesday, some protesters unhappy with the new cabinet breached a small security barricade near parliament in downtown Beirut and set on fire a tent for security forces, who responded with tear gas and water cannon.

The skirmishes extended to a nearby luxury shopping district. A civil defense worker told local media some people suffered slight injuries. Last weekend, hundreds were injured in similar clashes.

President Michel Aoun tasked the government at its first meeting on Wednesday with restoring international confidence,



Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
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Israel Bombs Gaza after US Criticizes High Civilian Toll

Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed
Palestinians inspect at the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, in the central Gaza Strip, July 16, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed

Israel renewed its bombardment of the Gaza Strip Tuesday, after the United States renewed its criticism of its ally over the high civilian casualty toll of the war.

Residents told AFP of Israeli warplanes striking central Gaza and artillery fire hitting the territory's south, while medics said they pulled multiple bodies from the rubble of the latest bombardment.

Hours earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told two top Israeli officials that casualties among Palestinian civilians "still remain unacceptably high".

"We continue to see far too many civilians killed in this conflict," spokesman Matthew Miller said after Blinken meth Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi.

Washington has been pushing for a truce between Israel and Hamas.

But Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Sunday that the group was pulling out of indirect talks for a deal in protest at recent Israeli "massacres", including a massive strike on Sunday that the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said killed at least 92 people.

Haniyeh said Hamas stood ready to return to the indirect talks once Israel "demonstrates seriousness in reaching a ceasefire agreement and a prisoner exchange deal".

After the latest deadly strikes, medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent said they recovered four bodies from a house outside the southern city of Khan Yunis and another from Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza.

The Israeli military said that over the previous 24 hours its air force struck "approximately 40 terror targets" in Gaza. They included "sniping posts, observation posts, Hamas military structures, terror infrastructure, and buildings rigged with explosives".

It said its troops were also continuing targeted raids in the far-southern city of Rafah and in the central Gaza Strip.