President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that "France stands today, as at all times, with Lebanon and the Lebanese people,” hoping that President Michel Aoun strongly calls on all political parties to set their personal, sectarian and factional interests aside to achieve Lebanon's interests.
“We are working, in cooperation with the United Nations and all of our partners, in order to hold an international conference in support of the Lebanese people,” the French President said in a message of congratulations he sent to Aoun on Lebanon’s Independence Day.
He indicated that the multifaceted crisis that Lebanon is going through, on the economic, financial and social levels, as well as politically, requires strong measures.
“I am deeply concerned over the current situation in your country, and I am aware of the increasing difficulties facing the Lebanese in their daily lives,” Macron said.
The French President said solutions to Lebanon’s problems are known: the roadmap that all political parties committed to on the first of September must be implemented.
During his visit to Beirut in September, Macron delivered a stark message to Lebanon’s leaders to deliver on reforms by the end of October or face possible sanctions.
The French roadmap for Lebanon’s next government calls for the immediate resumption of talks with the International Monetary Fund to fix the shattered economy and swift moves to fight graft and introduce other reforms that have been delayed for years.
“This roadmap answers the requirements of Lebanon's sincere friends, as well as the legitimate expectations expressed by the Lebanese people,” Macron indicated in his letter.
He wished that Aoun strongly calls on all political parties to set aside their personal, sectarian and factional interests for the sake of achieving Lebanon's interest and the interest of the Lebanese people.
“What the Lebanese people demanded nearly a year ago during their uprising can still be achieved. And it is your duty as head of state to respond to them,” he said.
Macron added that France is especially attached to the brotherly relations that unite the two countries and peoples.
“France also attaches extreme importance to the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon,” he wrote.
Commenting on the cabinet formation process, he said the government should include qualified figures, who will be trusted and able to implement reforms.
Ex-PM Saad Hariri has been named to form the government. However, efforts have stumbled this month at disputes over the distribution of portfolios along sectarian lines.