French President Emmanuel Macron, advocate of an initiative to speed the formation of a reform-oriented government in Lebanon, repeated support for the Lebanese people on Monday, saying “they must not stay hostages of any political class.”
“The Lebanese people must not remain a hostage of any political class,” said Macron in remarks he made at a joint press conference from Paris with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
Macron added: “Lebanon is still suffering from the lack of a political path that everyone awaits,” referring to a government formation gridlock delaying the formation of a cabinet since the designation of PM Saad Hariri in October.
Last week, as he chaired a second aid conference to help the crisis-hit country after a deadly port blast, Macron urged Lebanese politicians to form a government.
Lebanon’s cabinet stepped down after the August 4 port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut, but efforts to form a new one have since hit a wall.
Formation of a reform-minded government was the first step in a French plan towards unlocking massive financial aid to rescue the country from its worst economic crisis in decades.
“The commitments… have not been respected,” Macron had said, at an international conference for humanitarian aid attended by foreign and international donors, as well as Lebanese non-governmental organisations last week.
Macron promised to keep up the pressure on Lebanon’s political class. He confirmed he would be returning to Lebanon later this month.
Macron was the first foreign leader to visit Lebanon after the August 4 blast, traveling to the ravaged capital two days after.