Lebanon ramped up political activity on Monday in a bid to reach an agreement on electing a new president, as the exchange rate of the US Dollar kept up its drastic rise, surpassing 94,000 Lebanese Pound.
Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati paid a visit to Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Beshara Boutros Al-Rahi.
Mikati indicated in a chat with reporters before the meeting, that “Lebanon’s spring is near, God willing, with the blessings of Patriarch Al-Rahi.”
In the wake of the meeting, which lasted for approximately an hour, Mikati pointed out that he was in “constant contact” with Al-Rahi and that they both “saw eye-to-eye on the need to elect a president as soon as possible.”
“Without a political solution, it is not possible for Lebanon to exit the current crisis,” the caretaker premier added.
Bukhari Visits Berri
Meanwhile, Speaker Nabih Berri met at his Ain al-Tineh residence with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Al-Bukhari, with whom he broached the general situation in Lebanon and the region, as well as bilateral relations between the two countries.
Citing Speaker Berri, Ambassador Bukhari said on emerging that the former was calling for “balanced rhetoric, with the hope that good will eventually prevails.”
“The current stage requires resorting, more than ever, to kind rhetoric and permanent wagering on good will,” Bukhari added.
The activity in the country may signal some optimism regarding a presidential settlement, few days after a surprise deal was announced between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Beijing.
Earlier on Sunday, Mikati expressed satisfaction with the agreement, stressing that Lebanon supports any consensual path in the region.
“We as Lebanese must not wait for the outside and do our duty to elect a president of the republic, build institutions, and start solving our many problems.”
The Lebanese caretaker premier warned that Lebanon cannot bear the crisis for long, as the crisis became “a bottleneck and may explode at any moment, and the required structural reforms must be accelerated before the crisis worsens and reaches the point of no return.”
On the other hand, the Lebanese Pound’s value continued to plummet relentlessly against the US Dollar, trading at 94,000 LBP per USD on the black market by Monday afternoon, exchange dealers reported.
The exchange rate was swinging during the day between 92,000 and 95,000 LBP per USD, with fear mounting that it could hit yet another all-time low of 100,000 to the Dollar.
The Lebanese pound has lost more than 98% of its value since its economic collapse began in 2019. According to the United Nations, 80 percent of the Lebanon’s population lives now below the poverty line.
Source: Lebanese media (Translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)