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Lebanese Presidency handout via Getty

Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's proposal for a new government, prompting Hariri's resignation and deepening the country's political crisis.

Why it matters: Lebanon's political stalemate is contributing to the country's economic collapse, and caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has been pleading for international help to avert an imminent “social explosion." But key international players say they'll withhold aid without a new government and economic and political reforms.

Driving the news: Hours before Aoun rejected Hariri's proposal, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had sent a joint message to the Lebanese president stressing the need to form a new government as soon as possible.

  • The message was conveyed by the U.S. and French ambassadors in Beirut on Thursday, a day after Blinken and Le Drian met in Washington and agreed to push for a new, reform-minded government in Beirut.
  • Blinken and Le Drian also discussed possible sanctions against Lebanese politicians involved in corruption or in preventing the formation of a government.
  • “We will coordinate the measures of French and American pressure against those responsible for this impasse," Le Drian said.

Flashback: Diab resigned after the Beirut explosion last August but political infighting has prevented the formation of a new government.

After Aoun rejected his proposed technocratic cabinet — which came after 8 months of negotiations — Hariri said it would be "impossible" to reach a deal with the president.

  • "May God help Lebanon," he said.

The latest: The Lebanese pound plunged to a new low against the dollar after the news. It has lost more than 90% of its value over the past year.

Go deeper

Oct 2, 2021 - World

Biden confidant to mediate Israel and Lebanon's maritime border dispute

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and Amos Hochstein, State Department special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs, in January 2015. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department's energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, will serve as the new mediator between Lebanon and Israel in a dispute over the maritime border and natural gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, Israeli and U.S. officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Hochstein is one of President Biden’s closest confidants and has worked with him for many years. Appointing Hochstein as the mediator raises the profile of this ongoing conflict, and signals it is a higher priority for the Biden administration.

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.