No Aid to Lebanon Without Reform, Le Drian Says

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No Aid to Lebanon Without Reform, Le Drian Says

France's foreign minister Wednesday called on international partners to up the pressure on Lebanese political forces to form a government and again warned that only once reforms were underway would vital financial aid arrive.

"The political forces have still not managed to agree on forming a government." Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a speech to members of the Lebanon International Support Group. "Strong and convergent pressures on our part are therefore necessary to push Lebanese officials to respect their commitments."

International support group attendees include the five permanent UN Security Council members, key regional powers and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

"What is at stake is the future of Lebanon," Le Drian said during the virtual meeting held as part of the United Nations General Assembly. "Without reforms, there will be no international financial aid."

The meeting gathered members of the international support group for Lebanon including UN chief Antonio Guterres, World Bank head David Malpass and world powers including France, Germany, Britain, Italy, the United States, Russia, China, the EU and Arab League.

President Emmanuel Macron, who has visited Lebanon twice in the wake of the explosion, had repeatedly urged the Lebanese not to waste any more time in forming a government.

Prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib is under pressure to form a fresh cabinet as soon as possible, so it can launch reforms required to unlock billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Adib's efforts to form a government have been effectively blocked by the two main Shiite groups in Lebanon's usual power-sharing arrangement -- Amal and Hezbollah.

The August 4 explosion of hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate at the Beirut port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands, and ravaged large parts of the capital, prompting the previous cabinet to step down.


Source: Agencies