Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced today, Wednesday, that he presented to President Michel Aoun a government formation of 24 specialized ministers who are not affiliated with political parties, according to the French initiative and the initiative of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
In a brief statement following a meeting between the two sides at the presidential palace in Baabda, Hariri said, "This government, for me, is capable of stopping the collapse of the country."
He added, "I wish President Aoun would answer tomorrow so that we can build on the matter as necessary, and for me this is the hour of truth after about 9 months have passed."
In turn, the Lebanese presidency said that Aoun had received from Hariri a new government proposal and informed him that it would be the subject of study and consultation.
From Beirut, the director of Al-Jazeera office, Mazen Ibrahim, said that it is known that Aoun does not usually accept setting a time limit for his consultations, which opens the door to several possibilities, including that Aoun rejects the formation and Hariri apologizes for forming the government, or the president asks for a longer period of consultation.
Earlier, Aoun said that he hoped his meeting with Hariri would bear positive indications regarding the formation of the government.
During his meeting with French presidential envoy Patrick Dorel, Aoun added that efforts are still in place to form a government that gives importance to reforms, combating corruption, and criminal financial audits.
Aoun indicated that investigations into the Beirut port explosion are continuing to uncover the causes and those responsible and hold them accountable.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (right) during his reception of Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri (communication sites)
Hariri met with President Aoun immediately after the prime minister-designate returned from a visit to Cairo, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and other senior officials.
The Egyptian presidential spokesman said that Sisi affirmed his country's full support for Hariri's political path, which aims to restore stability in Lebanon, as he described it, as well as Hariri's efforts to form a government in Lebanon.
Al-Sisi also stressed the importance of concerted efforts by all to settle any differences to get Lebanon out of the conditions it suffers from.
Lebanon has been without a government since the resignation of Hassan Diab's government in the wake of the August 4 explosion in the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands, and destroyed entire neighborhoods in the center of the capital.
Lebanon is facing an economic collapse described by the World Bank as one of the worst recessions in contemporary history, as the value of the currency fell by more than 90% in about two years.