France’s President Emmanuel Macron said he would press for reforms aimed at dragging Lebanon out of a financial abyss as he began a visit to Beirut hours after Lebanese leaders named diplomat Mustapha Adib new PM on Monday under French pressure.
With its economy in deep crisis, a swathe of Beirut in tatters following a huge explosion on August 4, and sectarian tensions rising, Lebanon is facing the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron at Beirut International airport, Lebanon, on August 31, 2020. (Reuters)
Macron told reporters said he wanted to “ensure that the government that is formed will implement the necessary reforms.”
Foreign donors say Lebanon must tackle corruption and waste before they release financial support.
Senior Lebanese officials said Macron’s mediation was essential in securing agreement on a new prime minister in the 48 hours before consensus emerged on Adib, the former ambassador to Germany. Politicians had been deadlocked last week.
“The opportunity for our country is small and the mission I have accepted is based on all the political forces acknowledging that,” said Adib, who won the support of nearly all Lebanon’s main parties in consultations hosted by Aoun.