“The risk today is the disappearance of Lebanon”, warns Paris

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PARIS | France reiterated on Thursday its call for the rapid formation of a government and the adoption of “emergency” reforms in Lebanon, warning that the country would otherwise run the risk of disappearing.

“The risk today is the disappearance of Lebanon. So, these measures must be taken, ”insisted the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian on RTL radio.

In the wake of President Emmanuel Macron who visited Beirut on August 6, two days after the gigantic explosion that ravaged the city, the French foreign minister stressed that these reforms could not be carried out by the current political class , shouted at by the Lebanese.

“They phagocytose themselves to reach a consensus on inaction. This is no longer possible and we say it forcefully, ”said Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“The President of the Republic said it when he went to Lebanon on August 6, he will say it again when he is in Beirut on Tuesday”, he added.

“Everyone knows what to do, but there is no longer a government in Lebanon at the moment”, he continued, Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his team having resigned amid criticism of negligence after the explosion at the port of several thousand tons of ammonium nitrate which left about 180 dead and devastated entire districts of Beirut.

More than two weeks after the resignation of the Diab government, President Michel Aoun has not yet set the date for parliamentary consultations on the basis of which a new head of government is to be appointed, amid differences between the traditional parties that control the parliament.

“A government must be reconstituted, they must do it quickly because there is an emergency, both the humanitarian and health emergency (…) and then the political emergency if we want to let this country hold, ”insisted the French Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“This country is on the brink. Half of the population lives below the poverty line, there is a helpless youth, there is a situation of unemployment which is appalling, inflation which is mind-boggling ”, he enumerated.

This requires forming a “mission government” which can quickly implement “essential reforms because otherwise the international community will not be there,” repeated Jean-Yves Le Drian.

“We are not going to sign a blank check for a government that does not implement the reforms that everyone is familiar with,” he insisted, citing in particular those of public services and the banking system.

A list of the reforms to be carried out, which President Macron had already declined on August 6 in Beirut, was drawn up by Paris and sent to Lebanese political leaders before his next visit on Tuesday, the presidential palace of the Elysee said, confirming information Press.

“There is indeed a working document, a draft, which includes the elements on which the President of the Republic had exchanged and which is the subject of constant and continuous discussions with our Lebanese interlocutors”, it was indicated. to the French Presidency.

But it is “up to the Lebanese to move forward”, there is “no question of interfering” in the affairs of Lebanon, notes a French diplomatic source, stressing that this document is not a “sheet. road ”.

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