Situation in Lebanon – Reply by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (29 October 2019)

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Lebanon has been going through a very serious crisis over the past couple of weeks with mass people’s rallies, incidents, tensions and a crisis of confidence in a country already vulnerable because of its regional environment and crises from which it is trying to remain separate, and vulnerable also because of an extremely fragile economy.

As you have just said, and I inform the National Assembly: Prime Minister Hariri resigned a few moments ago, which in a way makes the crisis even more serious.

In this situation, France has two firm beliefs: the first is that we must do our utmost and call on the Lebanese leaders to do their utmost to guarantee the stability of the institutions and the unity of Lebanon. This is essential, and is what has allowed us in the past to help with the rebuilding of the Lebanese state, in particular through the CEDRE conference you mentioned, which we convened a few months ago.

My second firm belief, France’s second firm belief is that stability depends on a willingness to listen to the voice of the people and their demands. Are Lebanon’s political authorities, its political leaders resolved to build Lebanon together? Are they putting the country’s collective interest ahead of their own individual interests? This is the question raised by Prime Minister Hariri’s decision to stand down.

What Lebanon needs is a commitment from all political leaders to reflect on themselves and ensure that there’s a bold response to reforms, a bold response to the people, and France is determined to help them achieve this./.

Translation by the French Embassy in the UK.