Egypt Pledges Help to Flailing Lebanese Leader
Embattled Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, still trying to form a government four months after being named Lebanon’s future leader, visited Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday. The two discussed Beirut’s dead-end political situation and other regional matters. Sisi called on Hariri’s opponents to “settle [their] disputes and accelerate efforts to form a … government capable of dealing with the current challenges,” while also pledging to assist with coronavirus relief and aid to those still reeling from the catastrophic August Beirut port blast. Following his Cairo stop, Hariri is expected to visit Paris, after President Emmanuel Macron last week announced plans for his third Lebanon visit since August. France’s initiative aimed at pulling Lebanon out of its historic financial crisis includes the infusion of billions of dollars in international aid, and is contingent on the formation of a new, stable government which can pass significant reforms. Hariri’s efforts to form a minimal cabinet of nonpartisan specialists have repeatedly come up short in recent months amid a growing rift with Lebanese President Michel Aoun. The stalemate has left Prime Minister Hassan Diab in a caretaker role ever since his August 10 resignation following the port explosion.