Lebanon’s president, premier-designate sign decree to form gov’t

BEIRUT (AA): After months of political deadlock, the Lebanese president and prime minister-designate Friday signed a decree to form a new government in the country.

According to a statement by the Lebanese presidency, President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati signed a decree in the presence of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to form the new government.

Lebanon’s Council of Ministers set Monday as the date for the government’s first session.

Commenting on the move, Mikati said his government will draw up a “rescue plan as soon as possible” and expressed his hope to stop the economic collapse.

This came in statements reported by Lebanese media following the announcement of the formation of the new government consisting of 24 ministers after a government vacuum that lasted 13 months.

“I will contact all international bodies to secure the simplest matters of life in Lebanon,” Mikati said.

He went on to say: “I promise the Lebanese people that we will work with a national principle, and we are not with one group against another, and I will not miss an opportunity to knock on the doors of the Arab world.”

“We must deliver what was cut off, and Lebanon belongs to this Arab world and is proud of this,” he asserted.

Mikati also pledged to hold the parliamentary elections as slated for May 8.

Earlier on Friday, two sources close to the Lebanese presidency told Anadolu Agency that Mikati will present a proposal to form a new government to Aoun at the Baabda Presidential Palace in the capital Beirut at noon.

On July 26, Aoun assigned Mikati to form the government after Saad Hariri and Mustafa Adib apologized for not completing the task due to differences between the political forces.

The Mikati government will succeed the caretaker government, which resigned six days after a catastrophic explosion hit the Port of Beirut on Aug. 4 last year.

For more than a year, political differences have prevented the formation of a government that would put an end to the economic collapse and succeed the current caretaker government headed by Hassan Diab.

For nearly two years, Lebanon has been afflicted by the worst economic crisis in its history, which led to a financial collapse and a decline in foreign exchange, reflected in shortages of fuel, medicines, and other basic commodities.

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