US and UK came on the scene in Lebanon, voicing ‘readiness to assist’ in the week-long protests sweeping the country.
David Schenker, the top State Department official for the Middle East, said the United States “stands ready to assist the Lebanese government” in taking action.
The demonstrations show the need for a “frank discussion” between leaders and citizens over “the Lebanese people’s longstanding demands for economic reform and an end to endemic corruption,” Schenker told reporters.
“It will be up to the Lebanese people to decide whether these measures go far enough to satisfy their legitimate desires for a prosperous and thriving country free of the corruption that has undermined its potential for too long,” he said.
Later on Thursday, the British embassy in Lebanon said the “legitimate frustrations” of Lebanon’s protesters should be “heard and reforms enacted urgently”.
“A week after these protests started, the Lebanese people have expressed legitimate frustrations, which must be heard. This is an important moment for Lebanon: the necessary reforms should be implemented urgently,” the British embassy tweet said.
Mass rallies have swept across Lebanon since last Thursday, with Lebanese citizens taking to streets in Beirut, Tripoli, Jonieh, Sidon, Tyre and Nabatiyeh in protest against hard livelihood conditions in the country.
Responding to protests, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Monday a package of reforms and a budget with no new taxes following a five-hour government session headed by President Michel Aoun at Baabda Presidential Palace.