US Under Secretary of State David Hale chided Lebanese leaders on Wednesday for their failure to form a new government to address an economic crisis which has left millions facing growing hardship.
Hale, speaking after talks with Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh, reiterated calls by Washington and its allies for Lebanon’s rival politicians to tackle the "distressing political and economic crisis."
Lebanon has endured a financial meltdown, with the currency losing up to 90% in value. A devastating explosion at Beirut port in August and the global coronavirus pandemic have compounded the country's woes.
But rival political factions have failed to bridge their differences and form a new administration to replace the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab which resigned after last year's port blast.
"This is the culmination of decades of mismanagement, corruption and failure of Lebanese leaders to put the interests of the country first," Hale told reporters following talks with Berri.
"America and the international community are ready to help, but we can do nothing meaningful without a Lebanese partner."
Hale said officials must show the flexibility needed to form a government capable of genuine reform.
"That is the only path out of this crisis. It is also only a first step," he said.