Lebanon’s New PM Vows to Shield Country From War in Syria

Lebanon’s new prime minister, Saad Hariri, is promising his new government will do all it can to shield the country from the war and terror in neighboring Syria.

After announcing the formation of a new 30-member cabinet Sunday, Hariri told reporters his priority is to “preserve the stability that is prevailing in Lebanon amid fires that are spreading around the region.”

He also said he will ask for international help in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled from Syria into Lebanon.

Hariri is a strong opponent of the Syrian regime and the Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, which backs Syria.

Hariri’s father was Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, whose 2005 assassination was blamed on Hezbollah.

But Hezbollah-backed Lebanese President Michel Aoun promised to appoint Hariri prime minister if he endorsed Aoun for president in October’s election by parliament.

Hariri’s new unity government is made up of ministers from nearly every Lebanese political party.

Along with the crisis in Syria, Hariri also must deal with a stagnant economy, which has led to a breakdown of many government services in Lebanon.