Lebanon’s Amal movement ‘surprised’ by France’s Macron accusations

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Lebanon’s Amal movement expressed surprise on Tuesday over accusations by French President Emmanuel Macron that the Shia party triggered the collapse of talks to form a new government.

Prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib quit on Saturday after failing to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French plan aimed at rallying Lebanese leaders to tackle the country’s financial meltdown.

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Macron admonished Lebanon’s leaders for serving their own interests ahead of their country’s, saying he was “ashamed” of their behavior. He also questioned the role Lebanon’s two main Shia groups, Amal and Hezbollah, played in obstructing the formation of government.

“The movement, while it respects the role French President Macron has played, is surprised by comments he made that included accusations and holding (the Amal Movement and Hezbollah) especially responsible,” for stalling the process, Amal said in its statement.

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Under a French roadmap to lift Lebanon from its crisis, the new government would take steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to unlock billions of dollars of foreign aid to fix an economy crushed by a huge debt.

But there was deadlock over a demand by Amal and Iran-backed Hezbollah that they get to name several ministers, including the finance post.

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