Emmanuel Macron did not hide his relief by receiving at the Elysee Palace, Friday, September 24, the new Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati. ” At last ! “, he blurted out after a working lunch. It took thirteen months of political bargaining between the regime’s caciques and the collapse of Lebanon for a government to be formed, after the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab in the wake of the explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020. On this disappointment, the French president did not want to dwell. “I know and understand the frustrations of our Lebanese friends and I hear their questions”, he admitted, inviting them to seize “The opportunity to make concrete progress on the path of reforms”.

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The French president, who was personally involved in the file by paying two visits to the country and co-chairing three international donor conferences, urged Prime Minister Mikati to implement structural reforms to get the country out of an economic crisis and unprecedented financial, within the framework of the roadmap drawn up by Paris. With the national currency plummeting, rampant inflation and massive layoffs, 78% of the Lebanese population now live below the poverty line, according to the UN. “The international community will only be able to provide structural support to Lebanon once these reforms have been implemented, in any case initiated”, he insisted, citing in particular the renovation of the energy sector, the rescue of public finances, the fight against corruption, and the reform of the administration.

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“France will not let go of Lebanon”

Najib Mikati assured him of his “Determination to implement” in “The closest deadlines (…), the reforms needed to regain confidence, breathe new life into hope and reduce the suffering of the Lebanese people ”. He made a commitment to “Continue the promising negotiations with the International Monetary Fund” in order to obtain the necessary financial assistance. Begun in May 2020, these talks derailed against a backdrop of divisions on the Lebanese side over the losses to be assumed by the State, in default of payment, and its main creditors – Central Bank and commercial banks in particular.

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Najib Mikati has promised to hold legislative elections in the spring of 2022, “Which will allow the renewal of political life to which the people aspire with all their might”. “We will remain vigilant and ready to mobilize” for this electoral deadline, promised Emmanuel Macron.

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