France: Lebanon is running out of time before total collapse

France’s foreign minister warns that Lebanon is running out of time before it could see a total collapse, urging the country’s fractious politicians to form a new government to save it from economic and financial disaster.

Jean-Yves Le Drian says such a collapse would spell disaster not only for the Lebanese people, but also for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian and Palestinian refugees it hosts, as well as the entire region.

He speaks to reporters in Paris, months after French President Emanuel Macron proposed a road map to break Lebanon’s political stalemate over the formation of a new government. Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government resigned days after the massive explosion at Beirut port in August.

From left to right, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speak to the media during a press conference in Paris, Thursday, March 11, 2021 (Ludovic Marin/Pool Photo via AP)

Macron has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a Cabinet made up of non-partisan specialists that can work on urgent reforms to extract Lebanon from a financial crisis worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion. Macron has traveled twice to Beirut since then and has made it a personal mission to try to repair the damaged country.

Those efforts have led to nowhere as Lebanon’s famously corrupt politicians continue to bicker about the shape and size of a new Cabinet while the country is mired in the worst economic crisis in its modern history — a situation has been exacerbated by pandemic restrictions.