France’s Macron accuses Lebanon leaders of betrayal over government failure

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday accused Lebanon’s leaders of betraying their promises over the failure to form a government in the wake of the giant blast at the Beirut port in August.

At a rare news conference devoted to Lebanon, Macron said the political elite were “deciding to betray” their obligations and had committed “collective treason” by failing to form a government.

Lebanon’s prime minister-designate, Mustapha Adib, quit on Saturday after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French plan aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

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“They have decided to betray this commitment (to form a government),” Macron told reporters, declaring he was “ashamed” of the country’s leaders.

“I see that the Lebanese authorities and political forces chose to favour their partisan and individual interests to the detriment of the general interest of the the country,” he added.

He also sent a pointed warning to the Iran-backed Shia group Hezbollah, which was well represented in the outgoing government and some analysts accuse of holding up the process.

Hezbollah should “not think it is more powerful than it is.... It must show that it respects all the Lebanese. And in recent days, it has clearly shown the opposite,” said Macron.

Macron, who visited Lebanon twice in the wake of the explosion, had repeatedly urged the Lebanese not to waste any more time in forming a government.

The August 4 explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate at the Beirut port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands and ravaged large parts of the capital.

The disaster sparked new protests over corruption and mismanagement, prompting the previous cabinet to step down.

Read more:

Macron says he will ensure new PM will implement reform in Lebanon

‘Multiple dangers,’ Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch warns of crisis without a government

Lebanon’s Hariri says failure to form government nothing to celebrate

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Last Update: Monday, 28 September 2020 KSA 15:37 - GMT 12:37
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