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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France says 'time has come' to up pressure on Lebanon

Protests flared again this month (Getty)

Date of publication: 29 March, 2021

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The French government said that "the time has come" to increase international pressure on Lebanon's deeply divided political class to form a viable government for the crisis-wracked nation.

The French government said Monday that "the time has come" to increase international pressure on Lebanon's deeply divided political class to form a viable government for the crisis-wracked nation.

"The solution for ending Lebanon's crisis requires the creation of a competent government that is ready to work seriously and for the common good on implementing reforms that everyone acknowledges," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"After seven months of blockage, the time has come to increase the pressure for this to happen," it said.

It added that Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had spoken with Lebanon's President Michel Aoun as well as parliament president Nabih Berri and prime minister-designate Saad Hariri after they again failed to break the political deadlock.

"He reminded them that all of Lebanon's political parties bore all the responsibility for this impasse," the ministry said.

The Lebanese economy is in free-fall, with parliament approving Monday an emergency funding package simply to keep the lights on after one of the country's largest power plants ran out of fuel.

More than half the population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, and protests flared again this month by a population fed up with a ruling elite lambasted as inefficient and corrupt.

"In this context, the deliberate obstructions to ending the crisis, in particular on the part of certain actors of the Lebanese political system with unreasonable demands dating from another era, must cease immediately," the French ministry said.

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