* Lebanon seeks rescue from financial meltdown
* Hariri says Lebanon cannot be staging point for Gulfattacks
* Blames President Aoun for delays to government
BEIRUT, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Lebanese Prime Minister designateSaad al-Hariri on Sunday said that his country could not berescued from its current crisis without the support of Arabcountries and the international community.
Gulf states have long channelled funds into Lebanon’sfragile economy, but they are alarmed by the rising influence ofHezbollah, a powerful group backed by their arch-rival, Iran,and so far appear loath to ease Beirut’s worst financial crisisin decades.
“There is no way out of the crisis … without a deepreconciliation with our Arab brothers and an end to using thecountry as a staging point for attacking Gulf countries andthreatening their interests,” Hariri said in a televised speechmarking 16 years since the assassination of his father,ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri.
A U.N. backed tribunal in December convicted a Hezbollahmember of conspiring to kill Rafik al-Hariri in a 2005 bombing.Hezbollah has denied any links to the attack.
Saad al-Hariri, a former prime minister himself, was giventhe task of forming a government in October but is struggling sofar to cobble together a cabinet to share power with allLebanese parties, including Hezbollah.
After a meeting with President Michel Aoun on Friday, Haririsaid there had been no progress on the formation of agovernment.
Under a sectarian power-sharing system, Lebanon’s presidentmust be a Maronite Christian and the prime minister a SunniMuslim. President Aoun is an ally of Hezbollah, listed as aterrorist group by the United States.
On Sunday Hariri blamed Aoun for impeding progress, sayinghe had visited the president 16 times since his nomination asprime minister and proposed names to no avail.
France has been spearheading efforts to rescue Lebanon fromits worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
A new government is the first step on a French roadmap thatenvisages a cabinet that would take steps to tackle endemiccorruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions ofdollars of international aid to fix the economy, which has beencrushed by a mountain of debt.
“In all my communications there is a readiness and anenthusiasm to help Lebanon, to stop the collapse and rebuildBeirut,” Hariri said.
“But it is all waiting for the push of a button and thatbutton is government formation.”
(Reporting by Maha El Dahan and Laila BassamEditing by David Goodman)