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France 'regrets' Lebanon has not yet formed gov't

By AFP - Sep 16,2020 - Last updated at Sep 16,2020

PARIS — France "regrets" that Lebanon has been unable to form a new government after a mass resignation in the wake of a deadly explosion in Beirut's port last month, President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Wednesday.

"It's not too late," the French statement said, after the expiry of a mid-September dateline set by Macron, who has set himself up as a broker for finding common ground among Lebanon's rival political factions.

The statement called on officials to help the premier-in-waiting Mustapha Adib "form a government that is up to dealing with the gravity of the situation".

Macron is pushing for a revamped Cabinet that will address urgently needed overhauls to get Lebanon's economy back on its feet, and address the deep public anger over the August 4 port blast that killed 191 people.

For many Lebanese, the disaster resulted from longstanding corruption and ineptitude among a political class that has failed to establish a functioning state or uphold the rule of law.

The French president has visited Beirut twice since the disaster to try to forge a working consensus for a reform-minded government, warning that he will block recovery funds from donors if no progress is made.

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