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US says new Lebanese government must pursue ‘real change’

Mike Pompeo said that 'business as usual' in Lebanon was 'unacceptable' [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 September, 2020

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that any new Lebanese government must conduct ‘significant reforms’ and that ‘business as usual’ will be ‘unacceptable’.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that any new Lebanese government must pursue fundamental reforms to benefit the Lebanese people and regional security.

"Business as usual in Lebanon just is unacceptable," Pompeo told reporters after an August 4 blast at the port in the capital Beirut killed at least 190 people, pilloried the country's economy and brought down the government.

"This has to be a government that conducts significant reforms," Pompeo continued.

He said the United States and France, whose President Emmanuel Macron was in Beirut on Tuesday for consultations, shared "the same objective" for Lebanon.

Read also: From helplessness to helping out - How Lebanon's diaspora is responding to the Beirut blast

"Real change is what the people of Lebanon are demanding, and the United States is going to use its diplomatic presence and its diplomatic capabilities to make sure that we get that outcome," he said.

"I think the French share that. I think the whole world frankly sees the risk."

Pompeo said the principal challenge is the power of the armed political party Hezbollah, which the US considers a terror group.

On Sunday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his powerful Iran-backed Shia movement was "open" to a French proposal for a new political pact for Lebanon.

During his visit, Macron said Lebanese political leaders had agreed on a reform road map involving a government being put together within two weeks, following last month's devastating blast.

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