Lebanon foreign minister resigns in protest at crisis management Aug 04, 2020 0 511 12345 AFPBeirutLebanon’s foreign minister Nassif Hitti resigned Monday in protest at the government’s mishandling of a spiralling economic crisis, warning that if there is no will to reform “the ship will sink”.“I have decided to resign today as foreign minister,” Hitti said in a statement, charging that the government had shown no will to initiate changes demanded by the International Monetary Fund.“I participated in the government under the logic of serving one boss, which is Lebanon,” the 67-year-old veteran diplomat added. “But I found that in my country there are many bosses and contradictory interests. “If they don’t unite in the interest of the Lebanese people ... then the ship, God forbid, will sink with everyone on board,” he added, warning that Lebanon risked becoming a “failed state”.Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s office said he had “accepted the resignation on the spot and started making contacts and examining options in order to appoint a new minister”.Lebanon is mired in its worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war, with runaway inflation, galloping prices and bank capital controls fuelling poverty, dispair and angry street protests.Prime Minister Hasan Diab’s government, formed in January and billed as a group of technocrats, has struggled to secure international financial support.Hitti’s resignation comes after France’s top diplomat Jean-Yves Le Drian during a visit last month scolded Lebanon’s leadership for failing to take the necessary measures to save the country from collapse.The outgoing Lebanese foreign minister too called on government officials to “reconsider many of their policies and practises so that the nation and its citizens are given priority over all other considerations”.The free-falling economy has sparked mass protests since October against a political class widely accused of being incompetent, corrupt and beholden to sectarian interests rather than a national vision.The government, which defaulted on its sovereign debt for the first time in March, has pledged an ambitious raft of reforms and two months ago entered into talks with the IMF. However, the negotiations have stalled, with two top members of the government’s own team resigning, allegedly in frustration at the administration’s lack of commitment to reform.The government says it needs more than $20 billion in external funding, which includes $11 billion pledged by donors at a Paris conference in 2018 that was never delivered over lack of reforms.Hitti’s resignation shows “that Lebanon is in a state of total confusion,” said Hilal Khashan, a professor at the American University of Beirut.Following Hitti’s announcement, Aoun met with Diab to discuss “next steps,” according to a tweet by the presidency. Local Lebanese media cited several reasons for his resignation, including reports that he was displeased with the way Lebanese officials were encroaching on his prerogatives and mishandling diplomatic ties. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Dozens killed in Islamic State raid on Afghan prison Aug 04, 2020 0 523 Melbourne orders non-vital businesses shut to curb virus Aug 04, 2020 0 524 Israeli jets strike Hamas targets in Gaza: Military Aug 04, 2020 0 1445 Landslides kill eight as Nepal monsoon death toll climbs to 193 Kathmandu Landslides caused by monsoon rain on Monday killed at least eight construction workers in central Nepal, officials said. Bhagawati Nepal, deputy mayor of the affected Melamchi municipality, a small town .. Indian restaurant offers ‘COVID curry’ to scared customers Jodhpur An Indian restaurant is hoping to win back customers afraid of eating out during the pandemic with a special “COVID Curry” and “Mask Naans”. “This has been a really tough time for us and for our entire sector,” Yash .. Five dead in Mogadishu suicide bombing, police say DPA Mogadishu At least five people, including the bomber, died in an attack on a popular restaurant in Mogadishu on Monday, police official Ali Hassan Kulmiye told dpa on Monday. The targeted restaurant is frequented by .. Adviser to Lebanese president appointed as foreign minister Beirut Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab appointed a new foreign minister on Monday, hours after Nassif Hitti submitted his resignation. In a official decree after talks with Diab, Aoun .. Philippines’ new military chief wants to regulate social media use DPA Manila The Philippines’ new military chief on Monday called for social media use to be regulated, in a bid to prevent terrorists from using the platforms to recruit members and plan attacks. Lieutenant General .. AU mediates Ethiopia dam talks Cairo The African Union mediated a round of talks Monday between ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on Addis Ababa’s controversial Nile dam project, an Egyptian ministry said. The irrigation ministry said ..