Hariri seeks foreign backing for reforms pledged amid Lebanon protests


Lebanon protests, saad hariri, middle east, reforms

Beirut - Lebanon's biggest demonstrations in 15 years have unified an often-divided public.


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Published: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 11:24 PM

Lebanon's embattled prime minister sought international support on Tuesday for economic reforms announced a day earlier, which were intended to pacify massive protests calling for his government to resign.

Saad Hariri hopes the reform package will increase foreign investments and help Lebanon's struggling economy.

But the nationwide demonstrations that began last week only grew larger on Monday after the reforms were announced, with protesters dismissing them as more of the same "empty promises" seen in past decades that never materialised.

Lebanon's biggest demonstrations in 15 years have unified an often-divided public in their revolt against status-quo leaders who have ruled for three decades and brought the economy to the brink of disaster. Rampant corruption has also hollowed out the country's infrastructure and basic services.

In downtown Beirut, thousands of protesters were digging for a sixth day of demonstrations, insisting Hariri's government resign. Scores of other protesters held a sit-in outside the central bank, while protests in other cities and town continued as well.

Hariri held meetings on Tuesday with ambassadors from the US, Russia, China, the European Union and the 22-member Arab League to explain the reform package.

"These measures are only the first step," Hariri told the envoys, as quoted in a statement released by his office.

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