New Lebanon government still faces major hurdles: Mikati

PM-designate Najib Mikati says new Lebanon government still faces major hurdles
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Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is the third person picked to try and form a government since last year.
Mikati also responded to Nasrallah's comments on Iranian fuel [LEBANESE PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT via Getty]

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said on Friday he still had to overcome major hurdles to forming a new government, amid a deep economic and political crisis that has left the country with a caretaker administration for a year.

Mikati, the third person picked to try to form a government since last year, told Saudi-owned television network Al Hadath that the situation in Lebanon remained grave.

Forming a government is a necessary first step to secure international support to help pull Lebanon out of its deepest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war. The currency has collapsed, while medicines and fuel are running out.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a heavily armed Shia movement back by Iran and under US sanctions, has said Iranian fuel shipments were on their way to help ease shortages.

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Asked about Nasrallah's comments, Mikati said he was against anything that would harm Lebanon's interests.

"We will not let anyone lead us to new sanctions," he said. "But I tell the critics and the Arab League give us a candle, we can't say no to the shipment without having an alternative."

The prime minister's post is held by a Sunni according to Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system.

Lebanon has been run by the caretaker government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who resigned with his cabinet after a massive Beirut port blast ripped through the capital a year ago.

(Reuters)