Lebanese President Michael Aoun rejected Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s proposal and the Biden Administration’s message to form a new government as soon as possible.
Blinken and Le Drian also discussed imposing sanctions against Lebanese politicians who prevent forming a new government.
The U.S. and French ambassadors in Beirut passed along the message to Aoun before he rejected Hariri’s proposal for a technocratic cabinet.
“We will coordinate the measures of French and American pressure against those responsible for this impasse,” Le Drian said.
Lebanon has been in a political stalemate for nine months, throwing the country into economic depression.
Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has been asking for international help to avoid a “social explosion,” but many countries have said they won’t help until a new government and economic and political reforms are put in place.
Hariri resigned after his latest proposal was rejected, BBC News reported.
“It is clear we will not be able to agree with his excellency the president,” he said, according to CNBC.
“That is why I excuse myself from government formation.”
Inflation in Lebanon has skyrocketed as the Lebanese pound has lost over 90 percent of its value in the past year.
The currency hit its lowest level ever after Hariri resigned.
As a result, many people are unable to buy food, while electricity, fuel and medicine are in short supply.
The World Bank blamed the situation on the stalemate among Lebanese politicians.
Hariri was tasked with forming a new government last October, two months after a horrific explosion in Beirut killed over 200 people and protesters prompted then-Prime Minister Diab to resign from his position.
“May God help Lebanon,” Hariri said, according to Axios.
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