Good morning and Ramadan Kareem. I just met the President of the Chamber of Deputies to discuss current events.
I am in Lebanon today at the request of Secretary Blinken to discuss the distressing political and economic crisis facing Lebanon and to reaffirm America’s commitment to the Lebanese people.
America and its international partners are greatly concerned with the failure here to advance the critical reform agenda long demanded by the Lebanese people. I visited Lebanon in December 2019. I visited again in August 2020. And I heard then widespread agreement among Lebanese leaders on the need to implement long overdue financial, economic, and governance reforms. Yet today, very little progress has been made.
Meanwhile, millions of Lebanese endure mounting economic and social hardships on top of the pandemic. This is the culmination of decades of mismanagement, corruption, and the failure of Lebanese leaders to put the interests of the country first.
I’ll have more to say upon the conclusion of my meetings tomorrow. But my message in today’s meetings is simple: America and the international community are ready to help. But we can do nothing meaningful without a Lebanese partner.
It is time now to call on Lebanese leaders to show sufficient flexibility to form a government that is willing and capable of true and fundamental reform. That’s the only path out of this crisis. It is also only a first step. Sustained cooperation will be needed if we are going to see transparent reforms adopted and implemented.