Lebanon's new PM expects full Western support despite Hezbollah backing

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Fri, 20 Dec 2019 - 11:47 GMT

Newly-assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks to journalists after his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 19, 2019. AP Photo

Newly-assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks to journalists after his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Dec. 19, 2019. AP Photo

CAIRO – 20 December 2019: Lebanese new prime minister-designate, Hassan Diab, expects full European and US support for his government.

In an interview with Deutsche Welle on Friday, Diab rejected that the support his nomination received from Shiite militant group Hezbollah would hinder a much-needed Western aid.

"The goal is to form a government of independent technocrats," Diab, a former education minister who is also a vice president at Lebanon's prestigious American University of Beirut, told Deutsche Welle.

"Everyone is willing to cooperate so that Lebanon can have an exceptional government that is not like its predecessors in the number of technocrats and women included," he said.

"I think the Americans, when such a government is formed, will lend support because it is a government that aims to rescue Lebanon."

According to the sectarian-based power-sharing system that has prevailed since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, the position of prime minister is held by a member of the Sunni Muslim community.

Sources close to Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Lebanese media told Reuters on Thursday, December 10, 2019, that Hariri's Future Movement will not be participating in the next government.

Hariri said Wednesday he would not seek to stay on as prime minister.

In October, Hariri submitted his resignation following nearly two weeks of unprecedented protests demanding political change.

Hariri said he would submit his government's resignation to President Michel Aoun in response to the protests, saying his administration had "reached a dead end".

"I have strived to meet their demand for a government of experts, which I saw as the only option to address the serious social and economic crisis our country faces," Hariri said.

"I announce I will not be a candidate to form the next government," he said in a statement.

"It is silly" to argue the upcoming government will be Hezbollah-dominated, Diab told Deutsche Welle, AFP reported.

"This government will carry the face of Lebanon, and will not be the government of one political faction only," he said. "I expect full support from Europe and the US."

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