French Macron warns Lebanon risks “civil war” if not helped

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French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that Lebanon risked a return to civil war if left alone to deal with the crisis that followed the deadly explosion at the port of Beirut this month. Mr Macron was speaking as he prepared to travel to Lebanon on Monday in another attempt to pressure its leaders to undertake sweeping reform in the wake of this month’s explosion that made 181 dead.

“If we let Lebanon go to the region and if we somehow leave it in the hands of the depravity of regional powers, it will be civil war” as well as “the defeat of what is there. ‘very identity of Lebanon,’ he said.

Paris is eager to see the lack of progress in forming a new government to undertake reform in the wake of the explosion, which was blamed on a stockpile of thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate left over for years in a warehouse.

The French leader was warmly welcomed when he visited the city after the disaster. AFP

Many Lebanese have blamed the disaster on a ruling class they accuse of being mired in nepotism, corruption and neglect since the 1975-1990 civil war.

Mr. Macron spoke of the “constraints of a denominational system” in a country populated by Christians, Sunni Muslims and Shiites.

But he added that to this was added “what can be lightly described as vested interests” and this has led to “a situation where there is hardly any (political) renewal and where there is almost an impossibility of carrying out reforms ”.

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He insisted on the fact that France would follow a policy of “demands without interference” and waited for reforms such as the adoption of an anti-corruption law and the reform of public markets, the energy sector and the public sector. banking system.

“If we do not do this, the Lebanese economy will collapse” and “the only victim will be the Lebanese people (…) who cannot go into exile”, he warned.

He praised Lebanon’s multi-denominational makeup, saying that it “is perhaps one of the last existing forms” in the Middle East of “the possible peaceful coexistence of religions” and a pluralist system based on ” education and culture ”.

Updated: Aug 28, 2020 10:36 PM



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