The U.S. on Monday urged Lebanon’s parliament to elect a new president as the country marked six months without a head of state.
“The United States calls on Lebanon’s political leadership to move expeditiously to elect a president to unite the country and swiftly enact the reforms needed to rescue its economy from crisis,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
“Lebanon’s leaders must not put their personal interests and ambitions above the interests of their country and people,” Miller added.
Former Lebanese President Michel Aoun stepped down when his term ended in October. However, he has yet to be replaced amid divisions between an Iran-backed, Hezbollah-led coalition and a Western- and Saudi-backed bloc.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian similarly called on the Lebanese parliament to speed up its election process last week during a visit to the small Mediterranean country.
“We will back any election and any agreement that is reached between parties in Lebanon regarding the electing of a president,” he said.
Lebanon’s financial system collapsed in 2019 and has remained in dire straits since. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 95 percent of its pre-crisis value, and more than 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to Human Rights Watch.