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国际英语新闻:Lebanon's PM gives political parties 72 hours to agree on solution amid continued nationwid

Source: Xinhuanet    2019-10-19  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

BEIRUT, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave political parties 72 hours to find a solution for the country's crisis amid nationwide protests against the government's policies, local TV channel MTV reported Friday.

"Political parties must find within 72 hours a solution to the country's crisis, or I will be adopting a different approach," Hariri said in his speech at Grand Serail following two days of protests against the state.

Hariri said the country is going through a very harsh situation, adding that he has been trying to solve the country's issues for three years but he has been facing obstacles from other parties.

"There were some who placed obstacles in my way in forming the government and the efforts I made in reform proposals," the premier said.

Hariri said he traveled all around the world to secure funds and investments for Lebanon until he was capable of securing 11 billion U.S. dollars in loans and donations pledged by CEDRE conference last year.

Thousands of protesters demonstrated on Thursday and Friday, blocking roads all over Lebanon to protest against the government's policies.

Citizens chanted slogans against the government while accusing politicians of being corrupted and depriving people of their basic rights.

Demonstrators called for the resignation of the whole political system which led to their impoverishment.

Demonstrations resulted in several injuries among citizens and militants with one man died in Tripoli in a clash with the bodyguards of a member of the parliament.

The protests which started on Thursday came after the government discussed the possibility of imposing taxes on fuel, tobacco, WhatsApp and other internet calling applications, and luxurious products in addition to increasing the value added tax in its 2020 state budget.

The government is trying to pass the 2020 state budget by adopting austerity measures in a bid to reduce the budget deficit which has reached 11.4 percent of GDP.

Endorsing the 2020 state budget is one of the conditions imposed by CEDRE conference to unlock the 11-billion-USD fund for Lebanon.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil gave a speech from Baabda Palace ahead of Hariri's announcement, warning against chaos if the government submits its resignation.

Bassil also suggested to give three days for serious work to prove to the Lebanese that the government is serious in its reforms by approving the 2020 budget and referring it to the parliament with all necessary measures.

However, officials' announcements did not persuade protestors to leave the streets.

Citizens continued their demonstrations in different areas while vowing to stay in the streets until they get their rights.


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