France and UN rally aid for Lebanon call for government formation

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Islam News – France and the United Nations pledged on Wednesday to keep providing humanitarian aid to cash-strapped Lebanon, but urged the Lebanese politicians to form a government.

A new government would be the first step toward implementing a French roadmap for reforms to enable the release of billions of dollars of international aid.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared the creation of a fund handled by the World Bank, the U.N. and the European Union to provide support for Lebanon. The support includes food, healthcare, education and the reconstruction of the Port of Beirut.

“We can, together, help the Lebanese people move beyond the emergency phase and onto the path for longer-term recovery and reconstruction,” Guterres said.

But the French leader warned that the promised aid “won’t replace the commitment of Lebanese political forces and institutions to form a government as quickly as possible and implement a roadmap for reforms without which the (long-term) international economic help won’t be released.”

Lebanon’s leaders continue to resist reforms and have been unable to form a government after the last one resigned in the wake of the explosion.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that “despite the obstacles facing the French initiative, it must succeed because the crises the country is facing have reached their maximum.”

But, “Commitments have not been met,” Macron said.

 Another key international demand is a Central Bank audit. U.S. consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal withdrew last month from a forensic audit it was tasked with, saying it had not received the information required to carry out its work.

Lebanese President Aoun stated, “I am determined, no matter what it costs, to follow through with the financial audit to the end to liberate the state from the corrupt economic, political and administrative systems to which it has become hostage.”

World leaders and international organizations warned that no money for rebuilding the capital will be made available until Lebanese authorities commit themselves to serious political and economic reforms.

Participants to the conference, in their turn, urged for “the formation of a credible government, effective and able to work in the general interest of the country.”

Source: AP News

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