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French President Macron set to address Lebanon’s political crisis

French President Emmanuel Macron is set to address Lebanon’s political crisis in a press conference from the Elysee Palace on Sunday evening, a day after Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Adib stepped down.

On his second visit to Beirut in less than one month, Mr Macron announced on September 1 that Lebanese politicians promised him that a government would be formed within 15 days in a country where it can take several months to a year.

The French government has been deeply involved in helping Lebanon alongside the international community after a deadly blast on August 4 at Beirut port killed nearly 200 people and devastated the capital.

But Mr Adib, who was appointed on August 31, gave up on Saturday after political parties refused his proposal of an independent government to tackle the country’s multiple crises.

few days before his resignation, Lebanon’s Shiite party, Amal, an ally of Iran-backed Hezbollah, insisted on keeping control on the Finance Ministry, which it has headed since 2014.

France considers Lebanon, a former French protectorate with a sizable francophone population, a strategic regional ally and has organised several donor conferences in the past decades to help prop up its economy.

But France, as well as other donor countries and institutions, put conditions on their financial support for the first time at Lebanon’s last donor conference in 2018 by asking local leaders to strengthen transparency and accountability. This would weaken the power of traditional political parties on the Lebanese state, which is widely viewed as corrupt and is one of the most indebted in the world.

Lebanese leaders failed to deliver on promises of reform and the nearly $11 billion in low-interest loans and grants pledged in April 2018 in Paris were never unlocked.

In October 2019, Lebanon’s worst-ever economic crisis caused massive social unrest, with hundreds of thousands of Lebanese taking to the street to demand the resignation of their leaders, who for the most part represent former militias that fought during the 1975-1990 civil war.