The European Union said on Monday it is disappointed and concerned about the Lebanese prime minister-designate’s decision to quit, urging Lebanon to form a government to win financial support from the International Monetary Fund.
“The European Union notes with disappointment and concern the resignation of Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib and the circumstances that led to his decision,” the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“Lebanon’s leaders must unite and do their utmost for the timely formation of a government,” Borrell said. “The swift formation of a government would be also crucial to reach an urgently needed agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”
Adib quit on Saturday after failing to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French plan aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the country’s crisis.
French President Emmanuel Macron admonished Lebanon’s leaders on Sunday for serving their own interests ahead of their country and vowed to push ahead with efforts to prevent chaos, but appeared to have no back up plan should his initiative fail.
“I am ashamed of Lebanon’s political leaders,” Macron told a news conference in Paris. “The leaders did not want, clearly and resolutely, to respect the commitments made to France and the international community. They decided to betray this commitment.”
For the first time, Macron also specifically questioned the role of the heavily armed Hezbollah and the influence of Iran, saying that the group needed to lift its ambiguity on the political arena.
Adib was picked on Aug. 31 to form a cabinet after Macron’s intervention secured a consensus on naming him.
Under the French roadmap, the new government would take steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix an economy crushed by a huge debt.
But there was deadlock over a demand by Lebanon’s two main Shiite groups, Amal and Hezbollah, that they name several ministers, including for finance, who will have a big role in drawing up economic rescue plans.