French President Macron accuses Lebanon leaders of betrayal over govt failure

WION Web Team
Beirut, Lebanon Published: Sep 27, 2020, 10:47 PM(IST)

Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( AFP )

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

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 weakening of the government set up in the country.

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

Lebanon was left reeling without a hint of any end to the multiple crises, after its prime minister-designate stepped down following the failure of talks to form a government, despite international pressure.

Mustapha Adib's resignation on Saturday ended efforts to hammer out a reformist government. All this is happening in the wake of a colossal August 4 explosion in Beirut that killed 190 people, injured thousands and ravaged swathes of the capital.

Also read | 'Multiple dangers': Lebanon reels after efforts to form government collapse

To this end, Macron told reporters, declaring he was "ashamed" of the country's leaders: "They have decided to betray this commitment to form a government." 

"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 Shiite 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 days, it has clearly shown the opposite," said Macron.

He said Hezbollah needed to clarify over the next few weeks whether it is a serious political force to help implement a roadmap for the country or a militia at the behest of Iran.

"There's a question that needs to be asked to Hezbollah and ourselves. Is it really a political party or does it proceed just in a logic dictated by Iran, and its terrorist forces?" Macron told a news conference.

"I want us to see if in the next few weeks something is possible. I'm not naive, but we need to go to the end of this first road."

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.

(with inputs from agencies)

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