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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Diab warns of Lebanon’s ‘total collapse’ during Qatar visit


Lebanon’s currency continues to hit new lows against the US dollar, losing up to 90% of its value in the black market.

Lebanon’s Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said his country is now on the brink of a total collapse, addressing the severity of the circumstances in the levant country during a visit to Qatar.

“Lebanon is in grave danger and it can no longer wait, for we have exhausted our capabilities, and Lebanon has become without a rescue rope..and we expect you to be on the side of this country that has never held back any sacrifices for the sake of Arab causes,” said Diab, addressing Arab countries at a press conference on Monday, following a meeting with Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

His remarks came during a two-day visit to the Gulf state to discuss Doha’s plans to help ease the suffering of Lebanon’s people amid the ongoing and multi-faceted crises.

“The Amir affirmed Qatar’s support to Lebanon and its brotherly people, calling on all Lebanese parties to prioritise the national interest and to accelerate the formation of a new government in order to establish stability in Lebanon,” read a statement by the Amiri Diwan.

Rad also: Lebanon’s Hassan Diab in Qatar for first trip since taking office

Beirut has struggled to form a new government since it resigned in response to a deadly August 4th explosion that devastated the capital.

The lack of leadership has accelerated a severe economic crisis that has seen Beirut drown in debt, banking, financial and fiscal issues.

“There is a national need to form a government as soon as possible so that it is able to continue engaging in current discussions and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund,” Diab said.

Speaking in Doha, the Lebanese official described meetings in the Qatari capital as positive and constructive, expressing his gratitude for the country’s role in supporting Lebanon during times of adversity.

Qatar has donated $50 million to help Lebanon in the wake of the tragic Beirut blast, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands more.

Read also: Hariri makes Doha visit amid efforts to form Lebanese govt

His trip comes two months after former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s “solidarity visit” to the Gulf state, where Doha encouraged Lebanon to form a new government and cement relations between all political parties to “open doors for economic aid to solve the current crisis”.

Situation in Lebanon

Lebanon’s free-falling currency continues to hit new lows against the US dollar. To date, it has lost around 90% of its value in the black market and dollar deposits are still locked up.

An inflation crisis that has left many with little food at home has exacerbated financial burdens in Lebanon where residents in the crises-hit country have struggled to access their own savings.

According to an Al Jazeera report, food items in Lebanon now cost about five times more than they did in 2019.

More recently, a fuel crisis has led to power cuts in the capital Beirut and its surrounding suburbs, leaving residents without electricity for more than 15 hours per day.

The scarcity of petrol and diesel forced protesters out onto the streets to demand a response from authorities.

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