France urges Lebanon to engage in reforms



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The political tension over Hezbollah’s arms reappeared after the joint Franco-Saudi declaration which called for the arms to be under the sole authority of legitimate state institutions.

While Hezbollah rejected the provision relating to its weapons, Paris called on Lebanon to “prove its credibility in its commitment to reforms, in particular structural reforms which require serious working tools to face the deep crisis”.

On Tuesday, the French Ambassador to Lebanon Anne Griot informed Lebanese President Michel Aoun, at the request of the Elysee Palace, of the results of President Emmanuel Macron’s tour in the Gulf, in particular his visit to Saudi Arabia.

“The Kingdom has expressed its commitment to help Lebanon and the need to implement the commitments that have been made,” according to a press release from the Lebanese presidency.

Griot, in turn, noted that his country “has taken the first step in this regard”, adding that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are also ready to take the necessary measures and stressing the need for Lebanon to prove its commitment and credibility.

During the interview, the French ambassador spoke of the reform priorities, and underlined the importance that the international community and France attach to the holding of legislative, municipal and presidential elections next year.

In a joint statement released on Saturday, Saudi Arabia and France called on the Lebanese government to carry out comprehensive reforms and place arms under the sole authority of state institutions.

However, the arms provision was rejected by Hezbollah.

“We will not accept, however intense the pressures, that there is a compromise between obtaining the minimum standard of decent living and giving up what is a symbol of our dignity and our freedom. “said former minister Mohammed Fneish on Tuesday, referring to the arms of the movement.

He continued, “We want to work to achieve two goals, namely membership in the resistance, as it is a guarantee of existence, and problem solving to provide the minimum necessary for life.”

For his part, the vice-president of the Kataeb party, Salim Sayegh, said in comments on Twitter: “No to arms, yes to the army! No to escape, yes to reform! No to sectarianism, yes to patriotism! This is the change trilogy we believe in with [Kataeb President] Sami Gemayel.


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