Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken Reuters

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that the resignation of Saad Hariri as Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate was disappointing.

"It is critical that a government committed and able to implement priority reforms be formed now," Blinken said after Hariri abandoned his efforts to form a government nine months after accepting the challenge, according to AFP.

"Lebanon's political class has squandered the last nine months," Blinken said in a statement.

"The Lebanese economy is in free-fall and the current government is not providing basic services in a reliable fashion," he added.

"Leaders in Beirut must urgently put aside partisan differences and form a government that serves the Lebanese people."

Hariri told reporters earlier on Thursday that he had given up on forming a Cabinet that he and President Michel Aoun could agree on.

“It is clear we will not be able to reach an agreement with his excellency the president,” Hariri said. “That is why I am excusing myself from forming a government.”

Lebanon has not had a government since the previous Cabinet resigned following the deadly port explosion that rocked the capital of Beirut last August. Over 200 people were killed in the blast, which also left thousands injured and devastated much of the city.

Aoun tasked Hariri with forming a new government this past October. Hariri had previously served as Prime Minister, but resigned in 2019 following a wave of protests, which at times turned violent.

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