World Betrayed Macron says will continue Lebanon efforts, eyes Hezbollah
Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinet
Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinetBEIRUT (Reuters) - A party founded by Lebanon's Christian president made a proposal to end a dispute that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet and threatened a French drive to lift the country out of its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
By John Irish and Matthias Blamont
PARIS (Reuters) - 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.
France supports idea by Lebanese politician to end cabinet logjam
France supports idea by Lebanese politician to end cabinet logjamParis has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a government quickly but the process hit a logjam over a demand by Lebanon's two main Shi'ite parties that they name several ministers, including the finance minister.
Lebanon's prime minister-designate, Mustapha 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. [nL8N2GN016]
"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.
Lebanon's prime minister-designate steps down in blow to French initiative
Lebanon's prime minister-designate steps down in blow to French initiativeBEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's prime minister-designate quit on Saturday after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet, dealing a blow to a French bid aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation's 1975-1990 civil war.
Adib was picked on Aug. 31 to form a cabinet after Macron's intervention secured a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared out between Muslims and Christians.
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 Shi'ite groups, Amal and Hezbollah, that they name several ministers, including for finance, who will have a big role in drawing up economic rescue plans.
Macron, who also took a swipe at leading Sunni Muslim politician Saad al-Hariri, criticised both parties for blocking efforts to form a government by a mid-September deadline.
"Hezbollah can't be at the same time an army at war with Israel, an unrestrained militia against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon," Macron said, adding that he saw no evidence Tehran was interfering in his initiative.
'Ashamed': Lebanese despair at leaders after Macron's rebuke
'Ashamed': Lebanese despair at leaders after Macron's rebukeBEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese are in despair at their sectarian leaders who have left the nation without government during the worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war that has already driven many into poverty.
"Is it really a political party or does it proceed just in a logic dictated by Iran, and its terrorist forces? I want us to see if in the next few weeks something is possible. I'm not naive."
Macron said he would convene international partners within 20 days to assess where his efforts stood and hold an aid conference by the end of October.
Describing the events of the last few days as a betrayal, he said political leaders had chosen "to deliver Lebanon to the game of foreign powers", destabilising the region further.
He warned them that they had 4-6 weeks to play ball. When asked whether sanctions were on the table, he said he would only consider them at a later stage in conjunction with other powers because he could not see their use for now.
"This is a system of terror. This system is no longer advancing and a few dozen people are bringing down a country and its people," Macron said. "The French initiative will persist. My commitment ... will not falter."
(Additional reporting by Raya Jalabi; writing by John Irish and Raya Jalabi; editing by Timothy Heritage and David Evans)
Lebanon's fractious politics puts French lifeline at risk .
Lebanon's fractious politics puts French lifeline at riskBEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's sectarian politicians have overshot one deadline they had agreed with France and missing more may put at risk a French lifeline to haul the Middle East nation out of its worst crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war.