On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron convened with various Lebanese politicians and parliamentary bloc leaders to discuss the latest developments in the struggling country’s political scene.
Macron had arrived in Beirut a day earlier, hours after Mustapha Adib became the new prime minister.
Even before Adib’s appointment, it was feared that the political class might waste too much time to agree on how the next government should look and leave Lebanon in the vulnerable state of vacuum it is currently in.
Macron addressed this issue to the Lebanese leaders he met at the Pine Residence, from whom he got a promising response.
“What I have asked for, what all political parties without exception have committed to this evening right here, is that the formation of this government will not take more than 15 days,” the French President later said in a press conference.
On a side note, he indicated that if corruption on their part is proven, the Lebanese officials will have to face sanctions coordinated with the European Union.
He also reiterated his call for Lebanon’s authorities to implement reforms in order to save the country from political collapse, indicating that while France “will never turn its back on helping Lebanon … we will not give Lebanon a blank check.”
Furthermore, “I believe he can complete the reforms that must be done,” Macron said about Prime Minister-Designate Mustapha Adib.
On his part, upon his appointment on Monday, Adib promised that he would form a new cabinet quickly. He also stressed that the upcoming government will consist of specialists.
After his series of meetings with Lebanese political and non-political figures, including Fairouz and Majida El-Roumi, Emmanuel Macron left Lebanon with the promise that he would return at the end of the year to follow-up on the progress.
On that note, President Macron rebuked a French journalist outside the Residence des Pins for an article he wrote over Lebanon and that the French president deemed mean and insensitive towards the current delicate situation of Lebanon.
If Lebanon wakes up today hurt and depleted, I know that it will stand up again with all that it makes its strength and has always made its strength in its history. I said it directly to the Lebanese people today: We will be there.