AFP and Reuters reported that Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced on Thursday (10 Sep 2009) that he was stepping down, accusing the Hizbullah-led opposition of blocking weeks of efforts to unlock a political stalemate.

“Given that my commitment to forming a government of national unity has run up against difficulties that everyone now knows about, I announce that I have informed the President of the Republic that I have abandoned trying to form a government,” he told journalists in Beirut. He also stated, “I worked for 73 days to achieve this objective but each time the rounds of negotiations were hampered one way or another,” saying the team he had proposed was “frittered away through conditions imposed” by the minority.

“I hope that this decision will be in the interests of Lebanon and will permit a relaunch of dialogue,” he said. Hariri announced his decision after a meeting with President Michel Suleiman, who must now call for consultations with lawmakers to designate a new prime minister.

It is unfortunate that we have come to this impasse, where there is not only frustration but stalemate in creating change that is greatly needed. The question is: should his resignation be accepted? Has he indeed reached the end of the road? The next chapter of Lebnanese history is now open to being shaped by the brave and the more determined. A flagship of hope must now be embraced.

Written by Karen Duncan