Cairo: Lebanon’s premier-designate Saad Al Hariri has said that Pope Francis is interested in visiting Lebanon, but after a government is installed in the crisis-hit country.
“His Holiness the pope will visit Lebanon but after the formation of the government,” Al Hariri tweeted following talks with Francis in the Vatican.
Hariri, a veteran politician, was picked to form the Lebanese government. But he has since failed to stitch together a government amid a dispute with Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
“This is a message to all Lebanese and political factions that we have to expedite the formation of the government,” Al Hariri added in a series of tweets.
He added that he discussed with the pontiff the role that the Vatican can play to help Lebanon overcome its crises.
“We are in a very bad situation. But the government’s formation will help stop this collapse. Some people want Lebanon and its entity to collapse to remain in politics,” he said without elaborating.
Deadlock in Lebanon
Al Hariri also met in Rome with senior Italian officials during a short trip on Thursday.
He has recently visited some other countries to drum up support for ending the deadlock in Lebanon, which grapples with its worst financial crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
Last August, Lebanon saw a deadly explosion at the Beirut port that also devastated large parts of the city and fuelled public outrage against the country’s ruling class.
The government resigned days after the blast, but has since acted in a caretaker capacity.