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France backs proposal by Lebanese ex-PM to end cabinet deadlock 

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gives a statement to the press outside the Lebanon Tribunal on 18 August 2020 in The Hague, Netherlands. [Pierre Crom/Getty Images]
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gives a statement to the press outside the Lebanon Tribunal on 18 August 2020 in The Hague, Netherlands [Pierre Crom/Getty Images]

France yesterday backed a proposal by former Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, that could help with the formation of the country’s new cabinet amid the worst crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

“This declaration represents an opening and all parties should understand its importance so that a government of mission can now be established,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Hariri – a leading Sunni politician – offered a way out of the political deadlock by proposing an “independent” Shia candidate to be named as finance minister. But he stressed that the move would not mean that the position “should always be held by a Shia leader”. This comes as the larger Shia blocs, Hezbollah and Amal, have insisted they hold the Finance Ministry in any new government.

Paris has been pressing politicians for the quick formation of a government that “will draw up reforms to tackle corruption and help attract international aid to fix an economy drowning in debts.” The country’s problems were compounded by a devastating blast at Beirut port on 4 August. Subsequent fires in and around the area and an explosion on Tuesday in south Lebanon have further rattled the nation.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon’s sectarian system of power-sharing, had sought to shake up ministerial positions with a new cabinet of specialists.

READ: Macron is doing his best to win Lebanon back for colonial France 

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