US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday sent his greetings to the “people of Lebanon” on their Independence Day, stopping short of making any mention of the Lebanese government.
Lebanese politicians and officials have been at the fore of domestic and international criticism since the country was thrown into an unprecedented socioeconomic crisis.
Nationwide anti-government protests broke out in 2019 as hundreds of thousands of Lebanese demonstrators took to the streets to demand the government's resignation.
Despite then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri stepping down, the traditional ruling elite has put together consecutive governments with candidates backed by them.
“On behalf of the United States of America, I extend my heartfelt best wishes to the people of Lebanon on their Independence Day,” Blinken said in a statement.
“During these trying times, the United States will continue to stand by the people of Lebanon and support their hopes for a better future,” the top US diplomat said.
He added: “The United States recognizes both the rich culture and perseverance of the Lebanese people, who have faced and overcome many challenges over the past 78 years.”
Robert Danin, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Quartet Jerusalem Mission Head, pointed out that Blinken did not mention the Lebanese government.
“Noteworthy @StateDept Lebanon National Day statement that three times references the Lebanese people but pointedly omits any mention of its government or leaders,” he tweeted.