US, France call on Lebanon’s ruling elite to ‘finally act’ and form a government

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Washington and Paris issued a statement Thursday calling on Lebanese officials to “finally act upon their commitments” to form a credible government.

The statement, released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, was released six months after the deadly August 4 explosion at the Port of Beirut.

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No official investigation results have been released regarding the cause of the blast, which left more than 200 people dead and thousands more injured.

“France and the United States also expect rapid results on the inquiry into the causes of the explosion. The Lebanese justice system must work transparently, removed from any political interference,” the statement read.

In an obvious sign of frustration, Blinken and Le Drian said their respective countries would continue providing aid to the Lebanese people, making no mention of the Lebanese government.

The ruling political elite is seen by most Lebanese and many international leaders as inept and corrupt.

Since the explosion, Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government.

Saad Hariri was designated to form a new government last October, but reported demands by President Michel Aoun and his allies, including Hezbollah, have blocked any progress.

Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement he founded, led by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil today, have been requesting a blocking third in the government or what is known as “veto power.”

“The six-month anniversary of this tragic event underscores the urgent and vital need for Lebanese stakeholders to finally act upon the commitments they have made to form a credible and effective government, and to pave the way for the implementation of necessary reforms, in accordance with the aspirations of the Lebanese people,” Blinken and Le Drian said.

“Such concrete actions remain absolutely crucial for the engagement of France, the United States and their regional and international partners to provide additional, longer-term structural support to Lebanon.”

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