13:58 GMT17 February 2020
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes the Lebanese presidency announcement on the formation of a new government and intends to cooperate with the country’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said.

    "The Secretary-General welcomes the announcement of the formation of a new Government of Lebanon today. He looks forward to working with Prime Minister Hassan Diab and the incoming Council of Ministers, including in support of Lebanon’s reform agenda and to address the pressing needs of its people," the spokesman said in a statement late Tuesday.

    According to the statement, Guterres reiterated the UN's commitment to supporting Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and political independence.

    On Tuesday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun signed documents to form the country’s new cabinet, headed by Diab. Later in the day, witnesses said about clashes with police in the capital of Beirut and in some other cities across the country, with demonstrators blocking roads and highways, following the government’s formation.

    Diab, a 60-year-old professor at the American University of Beirut, was tasked him with forming a new cabinet at the end of last year.

    The government of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, consisting of 30 ministers, resigned in late October in wake of large-scale anti-government protests triggered by an economic crisis.

    The country’s new cabinet consists of 20 ministers, including five women. Zeina Akar has become the first female Defense Minister in Lebanon.

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