SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 May 2024, Thursday |

France to host international meet on crisis-hit Lebanon

France will host an international meeting on Monday on how to end months of political deadlock in cash-strapped Lebanon, the foreign ministry said.

The Paris gathering is to be attended by representatives from France, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt, foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Thursday.

Lebanon is being run by a caretaker government and is also without a president as lawmakers have repeatedly failed to elect a successor to Michel Aoun, whose mandate expired at the end of October.

The political impasse has hampered efforts to lift the Mediterranean country out of its worst-ever financial crisis.

The currency has lost more than 95 percent of its market value to the dollar since 2019, and more than 80 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, “has expressed her very serious concern on Lebanon’s political deadlock,” Legendre said. Colonna was visiting Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

France and regional partners including Saudi Arabia have been discussing means “to encourage the Lebanese political class to assume its responsibilities and foster a way out of the crisis,” Legendre added.

“This approach will be the subject of a follow-up meeting with the French, US, Saudi, Qatari and Egyptian administrations on Monday to continue coordinating with our partners and find ways to move forward.”

It was not immediately clear if any Lebanese representatives had been invited.

No meeting at ministerial level has been planned for now, Legendre said.

French President Emmanuel Macron in December urged Lebanon to “change its leadership” following months of deadlock that have impeded reforms vital to unlocking billions of dollars in foreign aid.

    Source:
  • AFP