On Thursday, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati reported that progress, although it is with low pace, has been achieved towards forming a permanent cabinet in Lebanon, noting that donor states would not help the country unless it assisted itself.
Lebanon has been without a government since Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned in the repercussion of the catastrophic Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020, with politicians failing to agree even as the country is being hit by a major financial crisis, paralyzing the country’s finances.
Mikati, a businessman-politician and prime minister on two prior occasions, has been struggling to form a government since he was designated last month in place of Saad al-Hariri, who gave up after nine months of efforts, expressing he could not agree with President Michel Aoun.
“Today’s meeting was a positive step forward,” Mikati said after the meeting with Aoun. “Today we made progress… even if the progress was slow. But we are persevering, and insisting on forming the government,” he said.
While Western donors have provided humanitarian aid to Lebanon through a conference co-hosted by the UN on Wednesday raising a total of $370 million, they have demanded that Lebanese leaders set reforms before assistance is provided to the state.
Mikati said there was one message: “If you Lebanese are not helping each other, you want us to help you?“ “This is where I started my meeting with his Excellency the President and I told him the government must be formed,” Mikati had said on Monday, hoping for a quicker pace in the formation of the government.