Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Thursday asked Pope Francis for his help in overcoming the unprecedented crisis facing the country.
During a visit to the Vatican, Hariri explained the difficulties he is facing in forming a new government. “I … asked His Holiness to help Lebanon,” a statement from Hariri’s office read.
A majority of Lebanese lawmakers designated Hariri to form a new government last year following the resignation of Hassan Diab. The country is going through its worst financial, social and economic crisis in modern history.
The international community offered to help Lebanon but under the condition that an independent government of specialists is formed to implement anti-corruption reforms.
Since being designated, Hariri has been unable to form such a government. The Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah have reportedly demanded veto power and political representation in the new government.
On Thursday, Pope Francis praised the Lebanese people while he called on the political parties in the country to shoulder their responsibly “to urgently commit themselves to the benefit of the nation.”
After visiting Iraq earlier this year, Pope Francis said he wanted to make a trip to Lebanon, which has the most prominent Christian population in the Middle East. It is also the only country in the region that has a Christian president.
Hariri said Pope Francis reiterated his intention to visit Beirut, “but after a government is formed.”
The premier-designate said Lebanon needed to form a government in order to “restore Lebanon[‘s ties] with our friends.”
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