Lebanon: Hariri urges revival of French Initiative

Lebanon: Hariri urges revival of French Initiative

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s leading politician, former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, called for the restoration of a French plan to lift the nation out of its worst financial crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.

Former colonial power France, which has led foreign aid efforts, has tried to rally Lebanese leaders to launch reforms to tackle the crisis. But they have failed to agree a new government – the first step in the French roadmap – and drawn a rebuke from French President Emmanuel Macron.

Lebanon urgently needs foreign cash to get out of a financial meltdown which has slashed the value of the currency since last year.

“I call on political parties to think well so as not to waste this chance…French President Macron’s initiative still stands and we can still enact it,” Hariri said in a TV interview late on Thursday. “If we let it fail, it would be a crime.”

Talks on a new cabinet hit a logjam as politicians wrangled over ministerial posts, with Iran-backed Hezbollah and its ally Amal demanding they name the finance minister. Hariri and Hezbollah have blamed each other for the deadlock.