Engineering professor Hassan Diab named Lebanon's 'technocratic' premier, but protests continue - GulfToday

Engineering professor Hassan Diab named Lebanon's 'technocratic' premier, but protests continue


A protester kicks a burning tyre in Beirut. AFP

A new Cabinet was announced in crisis-hit Lebanon late on Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid mass protests against the country's ruling elite and a crippling financial crisis, but demonstrations and violence continued.

Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old former professor at the American University of Beirut, announced a Cabinet of 20 members — mostly specialists supported by the Hizbollah and allied political parties.

Lebanon's new cabinet is due to meet for the first time on Wednesday, bearing a message of support from the United Nations as ministers begin the urgent task of addressing an unprecedented economic crisis.

Lebanon-PM-3 Anti-government protesters hide behind a wood barrier from a water cannon in Beirut. AP

The government, under Hassan Diab, was formed after Hizbollah and its allies agreed on a cabinet of 20 specialists.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will work with Diab to support the reform agenda, Guterres' spokesman said in a statement, reiterating the UN's commitment to strengthening Lebanon's sovereignty, stability and political independence.

Lebanon-PM-1 A boy rides bicycle across a road, blocked by burning tyres, in Beirut. AFP

Diab was nominated by Hizbollah and allies last month. Hizbollah is designated as a terrorist group by the United States.

Protesters took to the streets of Beirut as the new government was announced and closed roads in several cities using tyres and other make-shift barriers.

New Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said on Tuesday that Lebanon needed foreign aid to save it. He described forthcoming foreign currency sovereign debt maturities as "a fireball."

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