French President Emmanuel Macron is committed to pushing through the reforms he’s proposed for Lebanon, an Elysee official has said, as Beirut scrambles to create a new government amid economic and political chaos.
“The president has said he will not give up. He made a commitment to do what needs to be done and to apply the necessary pressure to put this program in place,” a French presidential official told reporters on Friday.
Macron has called for the appointment of an interim government in Lebanon, an audit of the country’s central bank, and legislative elections within a year. He has argued that these conditions must be met before the country can receive badly needed foreign aid.
A horrific explosion in Beirut earlier this month worsened the country’s deep economic and political problems, and prompted violent demonstrations. As a result, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab dissolved his government on August 10, but President Michel Aoun has been slow to create a new administration. Starting on Monday, Aoun will hold parliamentary consultations to select a new prime minister.
Macron is scheduled to visit Beirut on September 1, nearly a month after he arrived in the Lebanese capital following the deadly blast, which killed 200 people and injured thousands more.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday that Lebanon must immediately implement Macron’s plan, or the nation risks falling apart.
“The international community will not sign a blank cheque if they don’t put in place the reforms. They must do it quickly … because the risk today is the disappearance of Lebanon,” the French diplomat said.
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