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Lebanese protest over Macron visit and Beirut explosion Lebanese protest over Macron visit and Beirut explosion  (ANSA)

France seeks reforms in Lebanon

French President Emmanuel Macron wraps up a two-day visit to Lebanon during which he urged political factions to back an overhaul of government. This development comes as Pope Francis calls for a Day of Prayer for the nation on 4 September.

By Nathan Morley

Before heading to Iraq Wednesday, the French President Emmanuel Macron called for the swift establishment of a new government in Lebanon.

During his two day visit, he toured Beirut's port to follow up on the work at the site after huge explosions last month destroyed 8,000 buildings, leading to 300,000 people being left homeless.

Macron told reporters that he expected the government to start delivering on a roadmap of reforms within six to eight weeks. Furthermore, he said Lebanese leaders had promised to form a new government within the next fortnight.

“What I have asked for, what all political parties without exception have committed to this evening right here, is that the formation of this government will not take more than 15 days,” Macron said.

He has urged Lebanon to fight corruption, reform the energy sector and deal with the problems in the banking industry.

In an effort to speed up the process, prime minister designate Mustapha Adib will meet the parliament speaker, former prime ministers and parliamentary bloc representatives to discuss the situation.

Adib has been the ambassador in Berlin for the last seven years.

Even before the blast, the country was suffering a deep economic crisis and struggling to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

To make matters worse, Lebanon has record high unemployment levels, sluggish growth and one of the highest debt ratios anywhere in the Middle East.

Listen to the report by Nathan Morley
02 September 2020, 16:41