Lebanon's FM Hitti submits resignation, says there is no will to reform

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Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti has submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Monday over “the government's performance on a number of issues,” local media MTV reported.

“I resigned due to the absence of an active will to achieve reform,” Hitti said in a statement following his resignation. “I will not compromise my principles, my beliefs, and my conscience for any position or authority.”

Hitti decided to quit over differences with the prime minister and frustration at being sidelined, a ministry official and sources close to him said earlier.

The current foreign minister was appointed foreign minister in Prime Minister Hassan Diab's cabinet that came to power in the wake of nationwide popular protests that broke out in October that called for greater government accountability and an end to corruption.

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The country is currently in the midst of its worst economic crisis since the end of the 15-year civil war that ended in 1990. After defaulting on its $1.2 eurobond debt in March, the government entered talks with the International Monetary Fund to restructure its $90 billion debt, seeking $10 billion from the fund in financial assistance. However, talks snagged in early June as a dispute broke out between the central bank and the government over the actual size of state losses.

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Two members of the IMF negotiating team have already resigned, including the now former director general of Lebanon's Finance Ministry, Alain Bifani.

For years, the government has tried to attract foreign financial assistance to aid its crippled economy, but where aid was dependent on reforms, successive governments have failed to implement key reforms across various sectors to attract aid.

-With Reuters

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