Canada France in action for the formation of a new government in Lebanon

15:25  18 september  2020
15:25  18 september  2020 Source:   france24.com

Lebanon: the Prime Minister designate gives up forming a new government

 Lebanon: the Prime Minister designate gives up forming a new government © Provided by Le Point The Lebanese Prime Minister designate announced on Saturday that he was giving up, for lack of consensus, to form a new government intended to save the country from one of the worst economic crises in its history almost two months after the explosion at the port of Beirut.

Le Premier ministre désigné Mustapha Adib, lors d'une conférence de presse le 17 septembre 2020, au palais présidentiel de Baabda, au Liban. © Dalati and Nohra, AFP Prime Minister designate Mustapha Adib, during a press conference on September 17, 2020, at the presidential palace in Baabda, in Liban.

Lebanon remains immersed in uncertainty, several days after the expiry of the deadline set for forming a new government. Despite the efforts made by France, the political blockage persists around the allocation of the finance portfolio, which the Shiite tandem made up of Hezbollah and the Amal movement refuses to give up.

Negotiations to form a new government are continuing in Lebanon despite the expiration of the 15-day deadline, promised by the different political camps and announced by French President Emmanuel Macron, on September 1 during his visit to Beirut .

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"I am fully aware that we do not have the luxury of time", conceded the Prime Minister designate Moustapha Adib, Thursday, September 17, during a press point, while the ongoing negotiations still stumble on the allocation of the Finance portfolio .

"We have agreed to give more time to consultations" with a view to forming a government, he declared after an interview with President Michel Aoun. Several Lebanese sources have indicated that the new deadline for setting up a ministerial team has been set for Sunday, September 20, reports Charbel Abboud, correspondent for France 24 in Beirut.

The Prime Minister, who has suggested that he could recuse himself in the event of failure, said he hoped to be able to count on "the cooperation of all parties". According to the French-speaking daily L'Orient-Le Jour , "the French crisis unit in charge of the Lebanese file would have pushed Moustapha Adib to be patient, insofar as his withdrawal at this stage would be a real leap into the unknown".

Lebanon: fighting between security forces and extremist Islamist groups in the north of the country

 Lebanon: fighting between security forces and extremist Islamist groups in the north of the country © ANWAR AMRO / AFP A member of the Lebanese security forces (photo illustration). Violent fighting pitted the Lebanese security forces against extremist Islamist groups on Saturday September 26 in northern Lebanon, not far from the border with Syria. The clashes have left the ranks of armed groups dead and injured.

Paris tries to remove the obstacle around the Ministry of Finance

France, which on Wednesday called on all parties to take their responsibilities and "finally act in the sole interest of Lebanon", is increasing contacts to unblock the issue of the attribution of the Ministry of Finance.

The blocking around this portfolio results from the demand of the Shiite tandem made up of Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal party, to see it attributed to a "Shiite personality", as has been the case since 2014.

Charbel Abboud reports that an interview on this issue took place during the week between the French Ambassador, Bruno Foucher, and Hezbollah's head of external relations, Ammar Moussaoui. Several Lebanese media reported that Bernard Emié, former French ambassador in Beirut and current director of the DGSE, also participated in the meeting by videoconference.

A source close to the Shiite party even told L'Orient-Le Jour that at the end of the meeting, "the French had accepted the principle of allocating finance to the Shiite community".

Julian Bugier at the helm of 13h00 de France 2 from January

 Julian Bugier at the helm of 13h00 de France 2 from January © Christophe Russeil / France TV Julian Bugier was the current joker of Anne-Sophie Lapix at 20h00 de France 2. Julian Bugier, the current joker of Anne-Sophie Lapix at 20 hours of France 2, will take the reins of the mid-day television news from January. He replaces Marie-Sophie Lacarrau, debauched by TF1 to replace Jean-Pierre Pernaut.

"This is an essential condition in the eyes of the Shiite tandem, because in Lebanon, the decrees are generally co-signed by the President of the Republic who is Maronite, by the Prime Minister who comes from the Sunni community, as well as by the Minister of Finance, explains Charbel Abboud. Neither Hezbollah nor the Amal movement want to give up the Shiite countersignature ".

Until now, Moustapha Adib has always said he was determined to question the allocation of ministerial posts on a fixed denominational basis, in order to rotate the communities and the portfolios.

An opinion which seems to be shared by the tenors of the Sunni political scene. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri estimated,

Wednesday via his Twitter account , that the finance ministry was not "the exclusive right" of a specific community and that the refusal to rotate portfolios according to communities aims to "defeat the last possible chance to save Lebanon and the Lebanese".

The land of the Cedars at an impasse

The impasse therefore remains total. In a statement released Thursday, the Hezbollah parliamentary group reaffirmed the demands of the Shiite tandem while vilifying "those who form the government in the shadows", in an implicit reference to the Sunni camp. "We refuse to appoint our ministers in our place. And we refuse to oppose the fact that the component we represent does not have the Ministry of Finance," said Hassan Nasrallah's party.

France's room for maneuver, heavily invested in Lebanon

since the double explosion of August 4 at the port of Beirut , seems to be reaching its limits in the face of a political system based on confessionalism and political bargaining.

A certain practice of power abhorred by a large part of the population and which provoked, last fall, a protest movement against the entire political class, considered incompetent and corrupt.

Yet there is an emergency, since international aid of several billion dollars was promised to Lebanon in 2018, even before the double explosion that devastated the port of Beirut and several districts of the capital. But these funds remain blocked pending a government plan for structural and credible reforms.

Admitted to Canada under pilot program, refugee nurses ready for work as PSWs .
OTTAWA — Halfway through their 14-day quarantine period, Diala Charab and Yehya Al-Ayoubi are excited to start working as health-care aides after arriving Sunday from Lebanon. Despite COVID-19 travel restrictions that prevent most people from coming to Canada, the two nurses were exempted, resettled under a pilot project to bring skilled refugees to the country. "Diala got her visa during the (COVID-19) lockdown … I got the visa after the Beirut explosion." Al-Ayoubi said. "Things were hectic, but we just wanted to come here and be beneficial, productive people in this society.

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