News ID: 273560
Published: 0257 GMT August 31, 2020

Lebanon names Mustapha Adib as new prime minister

Lebanon names Mustapha Adib as new prime minister
Mustapha Adib, talks to the media after being named Lebanon's new prime minister at the presidential palace in Baabda district on August 31, 2020.

Lebanon named its envoy to Germany, Mustapha Adib, as the new premier Monday to steer the country through a deep crisis after the Beirut explosion compounded a sharp economic downturn.

President Michel Aoun designated Adib to form a new government after he secured the support of a majority of lawmakers.

The previous government led by Hassan Diab quit on Aug. 10 in the aftermath of a catastrophic explosion at Beirut port that killed some 190 people.

The blast was caused by the ignition of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for six years in a port warehouse.

The August 4 Beirut explosion caused up to $4.6 billion worth of physical damage, according to a World Bank assessment. In addition, the report calculates the blow to economic activity at up to $3.5 billion.

In a televised speech after his nomination, Adib called for the formation of a new government in record time and urged immediate reforms as a step toward securing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

“The opportunity for our country is small and the mission I have accepted is based on all the political forces acknowledging that,” Adib said.

In his speech, Adib said there "was no time for words, promises and wishes," pledging instead to enact swift reforms long demanded by the international community.

Donor states wants Lebanon to carry out long-delayed reforms to stamp out state corruption and waste in order to release financial support. The previous government launched talks with the IMF in May but these stalled amid divisions on the Lebanese side over the scale of losses in the financial system.

Adib said a new government must be formed in record time and reforms must be implemented immediately as “an entry point to an agreement with the IMF”.

Forming governments in the past has often taken months of political horse trading.

The PM-designate also toured the blast-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood and met with volunteers spearheading relief efforts in the district, telling them he wanted the state to work with them in rebuilding Beirut.

No other senior government official has visited neighborhoods near the port since the explosion.

Adib has been Lebanon's ambassador to Germany since 2013 and his name only emerged on Sunday to replace Diab.

The 48-year-old was born in the northern city of Tripoli.

From 2000 to 2004, he served as an adviser to Najib Mikati, a billionaire and former prime minister who backed his nomination on Monday.

In 2011, Mikati appointed Adib as his chief of cabinet.


Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.




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