US stance on Lebanon remains unchanged despite Hariri’s appointment

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The US stance toward Lebanon remains unchanged despite the appointment of Saad Hariri to form a new government, a senior US diplomat said Thursday.

“We are engaged in Lebanon ... our position has not changed,” Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told journalists.

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Schenker said he would “reserve judgement” and refrained from commenting on why there should be reason to believe that Hariri would be able to implement badly needed reforms. Hariri has been prime minister three different times in Lebanon.

“Who should lead the government and who will serve in it? That’s for the Lebanese people to decide,” he said.

Schenker reiterated previous calls that any new government must ensure transparency and work towards ending corruption.

“Business as usual,” is no longer acceptable, he added.

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