Lebanon’s international backers said Wednesday they supported its new Cabinet, while urging it to swiftly tackle the country’s snowballing crises amid ongoing anti-government protests.
The group urged Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government to commit to major reforms that would “stop and reverse the deepening crises” afflicting the country economically and politically.
Those issuing the statement included international partners like France, the United States, Russia and the United Nations.
Lebanon’s economic crash has sparked months of mass protests against its government and ruling elite.
Lebanon is at the center of a foreign power play between supporters and detractors of Iran.
Hezbollah, a major ally of Tehran, has come under intensifying U.S. sanctions as Washington seeks to put pressure on Iran and its regional allies.
Thousands of protesters clashed with security forces outside the Parliament on Tuesday while lawmakers voted on the new government.
Nearly 400 people were injured in the melee.
The new Cabinet secured 63 votes out of the 84 lawmakers who attended Tuesday’s session.
Over forty lawmakers skipped the vote while the protests hurled stones at security forces outside the fortified barriers surrounding the legislative chamber.
Amid a spiraling financial crisis, Lebanese banks have imposed informal capital controls on withdrawals of U.S. dollars and halted transfers of foreign currency abroad.
Lebanon has one of the highest debt ratios in the world, standing at more than 150% of GDP with no economic growth, a liquidity crunch and high unemployment.
International donors had pledged some $11 billion in grants and loans for Lebanon in 2018, calling for major reforms to unleash the money.
In recent weeks, friendly nations have said they will not bail Lebanon out without those major policy and regulatory changes.
It also announced its support for peaceful protests.