Lebanon Appoints New Foreign Minister Amid Financial Freefall
Lebanon welcomed its new foreign minister on Monday, hours after the abrupt resignation of the former minister, Nassif Hitti, from his post. The country’s new top diplomat will be Charbel Wehbe, who up till now served as President Michel Aoun’s diplomatic adviser. Hitti’s sudden departure throws the troubled country into further turmoil, as Lebanon faces its worst financial crisis in decades and inches closer to total collapse. While tendering his resignation, the former foreign minister, appointed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab after his rise to power in October, warned that Lebanon will soon become a “failed state” if it continues to refuse making the necessary “structural reforms.” In his letter, Hitti also offered veiled criticism of Hizbullah, the country’s strongest non-governmental force that is designated by most of the Western world as a terror organization. Hizbullah is seen as one of the main obstacles to foreign aid arriving in Lebanon, as the International Monetary Fund, European representatives and the US ambassador have all called on the administration to carry out monetary reforms that would weaken the organization’s grip over the government.