Macron accuses Lebanon leaders of ‘betrayal’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:51 AM, September 29, 2020

FAILURE TO FORM NEW CABINET

Macron accuses Lebanon leaders of ‘betrayal’

French President Emmanuel Macron has upped the pressure on Lebanon's leaders to form a government in the wake of the Beirut port blast, saying their lack of progress represented a "collective betrayal". 

Lebanon remains mired in political economic crisis with no end in sight after its premier-designate stepped down on Saturday following the failure of talks to form a government, despite intense international scrutiny.

At a rare news conference devoted to Lebanon, Macron launched an extraordinary diatribe against a Lebanese political elite who he said had looked to their own selfish interests rather than those of their country.

"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 country," he added.

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

Political parties had pledged in early September, during a visit to Lebanon by Macron, to form within two weeks a cabinet of independent ministers tasked with ending the country's economic malaise.

Macron has visited the former French protectorate twice since the blast, meeting Hezbollah representatives during his last trip as he sought to bring all political sides behind a roadmap to lift the country out of crisis.

In August, he chaired a video conference that saw world leaders pledge more than $295 million for the country.

Macron said none of the leaders of Lebanon -- where in the wake of the 1975-1990 civil war power is traditionally shared between Shias, Sunnis and Christians -- had been up to the task.

"All of them bet on the worst case scenario for the sake of saving themselves, the interests of their family or their clan," he seethed.

According to observers, the Shia allies dug in their heels after recent US sanctions were imposed on a minister of the Amal party and two companies affiliated with Hezbollah.

In a warning to Hezbollah, Macron said the group should "not think it is more powerful than it is"  

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