French President Emmanuel Macron says he was "ashamed" of Lebanon's lawmakers after they failed to form a government, while giving them four to six weeks of more time to implement his roadmap.
French President Emmanuel Macron has accused Lebanon's leaders of "collective betrayal" over their failure to form a government in the wake of the giant blast at the Beirut port in August.
At a rare news conference on Sunday devoted to Lebanon, Macron launched an extraordinary diatribe against Lebanese political elite who he said had looked to their own selfish interests rather than those of their country.
"They have decided to betray this commitment (to form a government)," Macron told reporters, declaring he was "ashamed" of the country's leaders.
Macron: Political forces chose 'individual interests'
Macron had repeatedly pressed Lebanon's leaders to form the government, saying a reform-minded cabinet was essential if aid was to flow in to rebuild the country.
Lebanon's premier-designate Mustapha Adib stepped down on Saturday, saying he had been unable to form a government.
"I see that the Lebanese authorities and political forces chose to favour their partisan and individual interests to the detriment of the general interest of the country," Macron added.
Macron said none of the leaders of Lebanon – where in the wake of the 1975-1990 civil war power is traditionally shared between Shias, Sunnis and Christians – had been up to the task.
"All of them bet on the worst case scenario for the sake of saving themselves, the interests of their family or their clan," he seethed.
"I therefore have decided to take note of this collective betrayal and the refusal of Lebanese officials to engage in good faith."
He gave Lebanon's political class four to six weeks to implement his roadmap, and said he would commit to holding a donor conference for Lebanon in October. He ruled out immediate sanctions.
Macron warns Hezbollah
Macron also sent a pointed warning to the Iran-backed Shia group Hezbollah, which was well represented in the outgoing government and some analysts accuse of holding up the process.
Hezbollah should "not think it is more powerful than it is ... It must show that it respects all the Lebanese. And in recent days, it has clearly shown the opposite," said Macron.
Macron, who visited Lebanon twice in the wake of the explosion, had repeatedly urged the Lebanese not to waste any more time in forming a government.
The August 4 explosion of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate at the Beirut port killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands and ravaged large parts of the capital.
The disaster sparked new protests over corruption and mismanagement, prompting the previous cabinet to step down.
The French president said that the roadmap for political and economic reform set out on his last visit on September 1 was still on the table but time was running out.
"It is now up to Lebanese officials to seize this last chance themselves," he said.
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