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Lebanon: Macron’s Call for Unity Government Is Based on US-Led International Consensus

Lebanon: Macron’s Call for Unity Government Is Based on US-Led International Consensus

Sunday, 9 August, 2020 - 12:45
French President Emmanuel Macron and Lebanese President Michel Aoun walk side by side at Beirut airport, Lebanon August 6, 2020. Thibault Camus/Pool via REUTERS

Political circles said that the solidarity visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Beirut opened the door to increasing regional and international contacts to provide medical and food aid to the stricken Lebanese capital.

The world has responded to France’s call for an international conference in Paris this Sunday, which is aimed at rallying aid and providing all forms of relief to the people of Beirut.

The conference, however, does not intend to secure the necessary financial support for the reconstruction of affected neighborhoods, which seems to be linked to the formation of a national unity government, as the international community is refusing to deal with the current government as the competent administration to undertake such a task.

Political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Macron’s initiative was preceded by a phone call between the latter and US President Donald Trump, who reportedly gave his French counterpart the green light to launch his initiative.

Trump will also participate in the international conference on Sunday.

According to the sources, Macron’s call for a national unity government is based on an international consensus led by Washington, given that Paris is the most capable of communicating with the parties concerned with its formation, including Hezbollah.

The same sources said that the disaster that struck Beirut resulted in an international warning that the collapse of Lebanon would inevitably lead to the fall of its political forces, and there would be no winner if the country was not saved.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Macron was not against holding early parliamentary elections, but that those must be done through a constitutional mechanism. They added that the French president was convinced that the current priority was to save the country, even if only temporarily, otherwise the collapse would be inevitable.

In this context, Macron called on the Lebanese decision-makers not to involve Lebanon, at least in the foreseeable future, in the Iranian-Israeli conflict. Although the sources did not have any information about whether the French president was in contact with Tehran before his visit to Beirut, they did not rule out the presence of intermittent negotiations between Iran and the United States.

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