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Lebanon's PM-designate Hariri presents cabinet lineup to President Aoun

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, left, meets with Prime Minister-Designate Saad al-Hariri at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, July 14, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri has presented a cabinet lineup to President Michel Aoun, in a move that could end a crippling political and economic crisis.

Hariri met Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda on Wednesday, and presented a 24-member cabinet proposal to the president.

"For me this government can start to rescue the country and stop the collapse,” Hariri told reporters after the meeting.

He said he is awaiting Aoun’s response on Thursday.

Since his designation in October, Hariri has reportedly been at loggerheads with Aoun over the naming of ministers.

The European Union (EU) agreed on Monday to create a sanctions regime targeting officials in Lebanon.

The EU, led by France — the former colonizer of Lebanon — is seeking to ramp up pressure on the Lebanese authorities in an attempt to force the formation of a Western-friendly government.

The Beirut government has been headed by a caretaker government since Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned in the wake of the catastrophic Beirut port explosion last August, which killed over 200 people.

Since then, Lebanese political groups have failed to resolve their differences and form a government.

The World Bank has called Lebanon’s crisis one of the worst depressions of modern history, ranking it among the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s in terms of its effect on living standards. The country’s currency has lost more than 90% of its value since fall 2019 and more than half of the population has been rendered jobless as businesses have shut down.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hariri met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other senior officials during to a visit to Cairo.

Cairo had pledged economic and political support for a new government in Lebanon.

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