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French President Macron says Lebanon has promised to form cabinet within two weeks

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference at the Pine Residence, the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon, in Beirut, Lebanon on September 1, 2020.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a news conference at the Pine Residence, the official residence of the French ambassador to Lebanon, in Beirut, Lebanon on September 1, 2020. © Gonzalo Fuentes, REUTERS

Lebanese leaders have promised to form a new government within two weeks, visiting French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday after talks with political blocs who designated a new prime minister a day earlier.

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"What I have asked for, what all political parties without exception have committed to this evening right here, is that the formation of this government will not take more than a fortnight," Macron said in a speech in Beirut.

He said the cabinet would be comprised of "competent personalities" and would be an "independent" entity with the backing of political parties.

Mustapha Adib, who had been Lebanon's ambassador to Berlin since 2013, was named on Monday as the country's second new prime minister since Saad Hariri resigned in the face of mass protests in October.

Adib will now have to form a reform-oriented government in record time in a crisis-hit country where the process usually takes months.

Adib "can only obtain legitimacy by quickly forming a mission government made up of professionals, the strongest possible team", Macron said.

Macron toured the area two days after the warehouse explosion in Beirut on August 4 that killed at least 190 people. He arrived in Beirut on Monday to follow up on reconstruction efforts and hammer home the need for urgent reform in the Middle East nation that is collapsing under the weight of a crippling economic crisis.

The French president marked Lebanon's centenary on Tuesday by planting a cedar tree, the nation's emblem, at a forest reserve north of Beirut. He then toured Beirut's devastated port, before holding talks with the leaders of Lebanon's political factions.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Read our blog below to see how the events unfolded in Beirut on Tuesday September 1.

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