Lebanese foreign minister quits over slow reforms

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti gestures during a cabinet meeting at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon February 6, 2020

File: Nassif Hitti quit as Foreign Minister blaming a lack of political will to enact reforms to halt a financial meltdown which he warned could turn Lebanon into a failed state.

Reuters

BEIRUT - Lebanon named the president's diplomatic adviser as new foreign minister on Monday after Nassif Hitti quit the post, blaming a lack of political will to enact reforms to halt a financial meltdown which he warned could turn Lebanon into a failed state.

Foreign donors have made clear there will be no aid until Beirut makes changes to tackle state waste and corruption, which are behind the crisis that is the biggest threat to Lebanon's stability since a 1975-1990 civil war.

In his resignation statement, Hitti cited "the absence of an effective will to achieve structural, comprehensive reform".

READ: Lebanon announces first COVID-19 case

President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab appointed Charbel Wehbe, Aoun's diplomatic adviser since 2017 and a career diplomat, as foreign minister.

Wehbe is a former secretary-general of the ministry. He is seen as close to Aoun and his influential son-in-law Gebran Bassil, a former foreign minister who heads the largest Christian political bloc in the sectarian power-sharing system.

Wehbe later told local broadcaster OTV that the government should work "step by step" to help the country overcome what he described as difficulties.

"Lebanon must always strive and knock on the door of all friendly and brotherly states," he said.

Source
Reuters