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National dialogue called for ‘urgently’ by Lebanese President

Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced that an "urgent" national debate is needed between Lebanon's political groups while condemning months of political stalemate.

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An “urgent” national debate is needed between Lebanon’s political groups, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said, condemning months of political stalemate.

To avoid the “ruin of the state,” he warned during an address broadcast live on state television on Monday that, “the planned, systematic, and unjustifiable disturbance” that leads to the disintegration of institutions and the dissolution of the state must be stopped.

An ongoing diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations has prevented Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet from meeting since October 12, and the investigation into last year’s catastrophic bomb at Beirut’s port is at the center of the dispute.

Governments are unable to respond quickly to the country’s economic crises consequently. Less than one-third of Lebanon’s population now lives in poverty, and the Lebanese pound has lost nearly 90 percent of its value since August 2019.

The country’s inflation rate has surpassed that of Venezuela and Zimbabwe, both of which have also been in crisis. Since the mid-19th century, the World Bank has declared the Lebanese financial crisis to be one of the worst.

“Six to seven years” is Aoun’s estimate for Lebanon’s recovery.

The president of Lebanon also blasted the parliament for failing to approve important economic and structural changes in a speech on Monday.

According to him, “obstructions in parliament have led to the destruction of the state.”

For nearly two years and two months, the capital controls bill was expected to be approved, which would have helped to financial recovery.

An agreement between Lebanon and the International Monetary Fund has long been sought by the international community to release billions of euros in economic funding.

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