Lebanon's President Michel Aoun meets Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri in Baabda
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun meets with Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, March 18, 2021. (Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters)

BEIRUT - Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday he would support a new Lebanese Cabinet if one is announced Monday but said that a government formed solely of specialists would not last.

President Michel Aoun is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri next week.

The two politicians have been wrangling for months as the country sinks deeper into financial crisis.

Aoun is an ally of Iran-backed Hezbollah, listed as a terrorist group by the United States.

"If the prime minister-designate agrees with the president on Monday a government of specialists we will agree," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

"I am now saying to everyone a government of both technocrats and politicians, which will not allow anyone to run away from responsibility, is better," he said.

Lebanon's economic meltdown is posing the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

Politicians have since late 2019 failed to agree on a rescue plan to unlock foreign cash, which Lebanon desperately needs.

Hariri met with Aoun earlier on Thursday after a heated political exchange on Wednesday, later saying a new cabinet that would reengage the IMF was the only solution to Lebanon's woes.

Nasrallah said a government that sought to implement reforms required by the International Monetary Fund would find difficulty with issues such as subsidy removal.

"If the IMF comes and says we should lift subsidies, will the Lebanese be able to withstand that?" Nasrallah said.

Lebanon's talks with the IMF stalled last year over a dispute among government officials, bankers and political parties over vast financial losses.

The financial crisis has seen the value of the Lebanese pound sink by 90%, plunging many into poverty and endangering imports as dollars grow scarce.

The currency crashed so fast in recent weeks, losing a third of its value, it has sent protesters into the streets and forced shops and groceries to close.

Nasrallah blamed central bank chief Riad Salameh for the currency tumble.

"You can work to prevent the deterioration, but you aren't," he said addressing Salameh.

Nasrallah also said outside and internal entities were trying to push Lebanon into a civil war scenario, without giving more details.

"I have information that there are outside forces and some internal ones that are pushing toward civil war ... they are looking for the fuel to add to the oil," Nasrallah said.

Special Project

More Coverage