France's Macron to visit Lebanon for third time: reports

France's Macron to visit Lebanon for third time since devastating Beirut blast: reports
2 min read
07 December, 2020
France's Macron will reportedly visit Lebanon for the third time since the 4 August explosion to follow up on the country's progress on promised reforms.
Macron has promised to return in December to follow up on promised reforms [Getty]
French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Lebanon on 23 December, local media reported, the third visit since the Beirut port explosion on 4 August that killed over 200.

Macron has been leading an international push for long-overdue reforms and collecting aid for the crisis-ridden country.

After his second visit, Macron pledged to "follow up" in December on progress made by Lebanese leaders towards enacting reforms.

As Macron's priorly-announced visit nears, Lebanese leaders - who have so far failed to form a new government after officials resigned in the aftermath of the explosion - are rushing to reach an internal agreement.

A source in Lebanon's Baabda Palace told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister publication that Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri scheduled a second meeting to discuss formation of a new government and break the deadlock ahead of Macron's visit.

The formation of a reform-minded government was the first condition under the French plan which would unlock massive financial aid to rescue the country from its worst economic crisis in decades. But Macron has recently expressed disappointment with Lebanon's progress on its end of the bargain.

During an online international donor conference, Macron said Lebanon's "commitments... have not been respected".

Read also: Is time running out for Macron's credibility in Lebanon?

Macron thanked international donors for providing more than 280 million euros towards humanitarian aid at a first conference on 9 August, which had helped provide for the country's immediate needs.

The New Arab could not independently confirm the visit. The French Embassy in Beirut did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

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