Lebanon’s stability depends on willingness to listen to people and their demands

Lebanon/statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (31 October) – Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpt) (Paris, 31 October 2019)

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri on 29 October, it is crucial for Lebanon’s future that a government be formed swiftly that is capable of carrying out the reforms the country needs.

Amid the economic, social and political crisis that has been sweeping Lebanon in recent weeks, it is up to all Lebanese political leaders to promote a spirit of national unity and responsibility to guarantee the country’s stability, security and general interest.

In this spirit, everything must be done to avoid provocations and violence, and to preserve the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

It is vital for all political forces to immediately facilitate the formation of a new government capable of responding to the legitimate aspirations expressed by the Lebanese and to take essential decisions to ensure the country’s economic recovery. Within the framework established by the CEDRE conference, France stands ready to support Lebanon on this path.

In this crucial moment, France, as always, stands side by side with the Lebanese people. (…)./.

Situation in Lebanon – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (Paris, 29 October 2019)

Lebanon has been going through a very serious crisis over the past couple of weeks with mass people’s rallies, incidents, tensions and a crisis of confidence in a country already vulnerable because of its regional environment and crises from which it is trying to remain separate, and vulnerable also because of an extremely fragile economy.

As you have just said, and I inform the National Assembly: Prime Minister Hariri resigned a few moments ago, which in a way makes the crisis even more serious.

In this situation, France has two firm beliefs: the first is that we must do our utmost and call on the Lebanese leaders to do their utmost to guarantee the stability of the institutions and the unity of Lebanon. This is essential, and is what has allowed us in the past to help with the rebuilding of the Lebanese state, in particular through the CEDRE conference you mentioned, which we convened a few months ago.

My second firm belief, France’s second firm belief is that stability depends on a willingness to listen to the voice of the people and their demands. Are Lebanon’s political authorities, its political leaders resolved to build Lebanon together? Are they putting the country’s collective interest ahead of their own individual interests? This is the question raised by Prime Minister Hariri’s decision to stand down.

What Lebanon needs is a commitment from all political leaders to reflect on themselves and ensure that there’s a bold response to reforms, a bold response to the people, and France is determined to help them achieve this./.

Published on 31/10/2019

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