BEIRUT, Lebanon - While visiting his home town of Tripoli, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Najib Makati said his country is facing the worst crisis of it's history. Nearly a month and half after the cabinet of Prime Minister Saad Hariri collapsed, Makati is still unable to form a new government. He says he's been shouldering a heavy burden to end political divisions.
He's not alone. The Saudi government quit mediation efforts because the negotiations were at a stalemate.
Lebanon's Grand Mufti, Sheik Mohammed Rashid Qabbani has asked Saudi King Abudllah to reconsider. He wants the Saudis to return to talks to help end the crisis.
Caretaker Prime Minister Hariri says the crisis will only end--and Lebanon will only become stable once Hezbollah is disarmed and the results of the U.N. Tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are revealed and accepted. Saad Hariri wants justice, Hezbollah would like to see the whole matter ignored by the Lebanese. It says the United States and Israel are behind the investigation in an effort to destroy Hezbollah.
The results of the tribunal (and possible indictments of Hezbollah leaders) are expected early next month.
In the meantime, a growing number of Lebanese youth are joining the ranks of pro-secularists. Demonstrations calling for the end of Lebanese political sectarianism are expected to occur regularly in the days ahead.
And gasoline is flowing at stations again in Beirut. Fuel importers resumed deliveries Saturday. Deliveries were halted last Thursday because two caretaker government ministers could not agree on the size of a gasoline tax cut. Long lines were seen at gas station at the end of the week as the crisis ensued and again this weekend as the stations re-opened. The good news for consumers here is gasoline prices will drop about $3.30 per 20 litres. That means an average gallon of gas will now cost the Lebanese about $3.30 a gallon.
So, the Lebanese are now paying about the same as Americans. But aren't you glad you don't have to wait in lines like this?
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