The Lebanese prime minister in the caretaker government, Hassan Diab, delivered a desperate speech, warning that Lebanon is on the brink of collapse and appealing to other countries to help save the nation.
In his speech on Wednesday, he said Lebanon is in “serious jeopardy. Either you rescue it now before it is too late, or else there is no time for regrets.”
“Three hundred days have passed since the resignation of my government, and Lebanon continues to go through a tunnel that is getting darker, and whenever a glimmer appears on the horizon, it is quenched by political calculations that no longer considers the fate of the country or the suffering of the Lebanese who are exhausted by the search for medication, children’s milk or gasoline,” he said. “They are grappling with the surge in prices that have far exceeded their purchasing power and incomes; their frustration is taking root and is pushing some of them to search for hope and relief away from their homeland, which is losing, on a daily basis, its scientific competencies and youth, along with capability erosion, in the absence of a new government.”
The World Bank reported that Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis in 200 years – and ranks in the top 10 most severe crises on the globe. The country faces the possibility of half its population sinking below the poverty line.
For the last 10 months, politicians have failed to form a government, as there is a friction between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and Lebanese President Michel Aoun over naming certain ministers.
With all of these successive crises battering the country, the Lebanese pound lost 85% of its value. As a result, the government announced that it would stop paying foreign debts, sporadically close banks to customers and tighten restrictions on the withdrawal of foreign currencies.
The Lebanese crisis worsened after the explosion of the Port of Beirut in August and the coronavirus pandemic. An investigation has yet to place responsibility on any one person or organization for the tragic accident in which 200 people died and more than 1,000 were injured.
Some Lebanese are raising the issue again on social media demanding that whoever is responsible is found and held accountable.
Here is the full text of Diab’s speech.