Lebanon's caretaker prime minister called on the international community on Tuesday to help the nation plagued by multiple crises, saying that linking aid to reform has become a “threat to the lives of Lebanese”.
Many Lebanese have taken to the streets in protest amid worsening living conditions as the country slips further into political and economic crisis [Getty]
Diab urged friendly nations to extend assistance despite the lack of a new government, saying that linking aid to reform of a deeply corrupt system has become a “threat to the lives of Lebanese” and to the country’s stability.
“What sin have the Lebanese committed to pay a dear price? Are the Lebanese people supposed to die at hospital’s doors on the way to holding the corrupt accountable?” Diab said.
“I appeal through you to the kings, princes, presidents and leaders of brotherly and friendly countries, and I call upon the United Nations and all international bodies, the international community, and the global public opinion to help save the Lebanese from death and prevent the demise of Lebanon," he told the diplomats.
“Lebanon is a few days away from social explosion," he added. “The Lebanese are facing this dark fate alone."
Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis
has unfolded since late 2019, spiralling out of control in this country of over 6 million people, including more than a million Syrian refugees.
The World Bank called it one of the worst crises since the 1850s and described Lebanon’s economic contraction as brutal.
The national currency lost nearly 95 percent of its value, plunging the once middle-income country into poverty.
Inflation and unemployment soared and waves of professionals have migrated abroad, seeking a better life.
The political crisis is rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement by a post-civil war political class that has accumulated debt and done little to encourage local industries.
Banks, once the country’s booming sector, have imposed informal capital controls and depositors are unable to freely access their accounts.
Lebanon has been promised billions in international assistance, pending a reform plan to deal with corruption. But vying for power and trading blame, the political elite never reached an agreement.