BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri remained "optimistic" of Lebanon overcoming its economic woes while maintaining that the formation of the Cabinet would pave the way for prosperity.
Hariri's comments came during Arab Economic Forum held Thursday at Beirut's Four Seasons Hotel, where he expressed hope in "Lebanon's political class putting citizens' interest first."
The Prime-Minister-designate highlighted the problems the country has faced in recent years, mainly from the "repercussions of wars and conflicts which have taken a toll on our economic and social conditions," adding that the Syrian refugee crisis has hindered Lebanon's "ability to attract investments."
Touching on the recent CEDRE donor conference which took place in Paris, Hariri asserted that a "clear roadmap is in place to diversify sources of growth by implementing a $17 billion investment spending program, spanning 10 years, to modernize and develop our infrastructure."
The private sector is expected to play a leading role in these efforts, with Hariri foreseeing close cooperation with the public sector in the management and implementation of projects.
The formation of a Cabinet is seen as of the utmost importance for the initiation of the CEDRE project after it entered its caretaker mode following the conclusion of the country's Parliamentary elections.
Hariri has been tasked with forming an all-inclusive Cabinet comprising of the country's different political factions yet has faced several hurdles in the process, mainly in respect to the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement's demands.
The LF, who saw their bloc expand to 15 MPs, have been pushing for a significant share of ministries including one of four key portfolios (Interior, Defense, Foreign and Finance Ministries) to rival the FPM. The FPM, with its 29 MPs however, remains the biggest Christian coalition in Parliament.
President Michel Aoun has been adamant in his refusal to grant the LF's wishes and limit their representation despite Hariri's commitment to an all-inclusive Cabinet. The President has also been trying to secure at least three other ministries to go alongside the FPM's seven, including that of the deputy premier position which is currently occupied by the LF.
"We have two options before us, either to surrender to the current reality and the difficulties that Lebanon is faced with or to rise up with the country to provide prosperity to all Lebanese people," Hariri said.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.