Western powers seeking to rescue Lebanon’s teetering economy have given the country’s leaders an ultimatum: there will be no bailout unless they form a credible government to overhaul a bankrupt state -- and do it quickly.
People march during a demonstration marking one year since the start of nation-wide protests in Beirut, Lebanon, on October 17, 2020. (Reuters)
In talks in Beirut last week, Patrick Durel, an adviser to Macron on the Middle East and North Africa, made clear that while Paris remains committed, “we will not bail them out unless there are reforms”, according to two sources who were present.
“Those times have changed,” he said.
A Western diplomat said France was still trying to host a planned conference on rebuilding Beirut by the end of November, but doubts remained.
“There are no developments,” the diplomat said. “The Lebanese politicians are back to their way of doing business and what’s worrying is the complete disregard for the population.”