France Calls on Miqati to Form Govt 'via Dialogue, without Interference'

Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati must form a new Lebanese government without outside "interference," France's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"It is essential that it is done within the framework of the constitution ... and reflects the independent and sovereign choice of the Lebanese people, without any interference and through dialogue," it said.

The statement added that "France takes note of the designation of Najib Miqati" to succeed Saad Hariri, whose unity cabinet collapsed earlier this month.

The appointment has sparked widespread anger within Lebanon's Sunni community, who view it as a bid by Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hizbullah to impose on them the Shiite group's choice for the premiership.

But Miqati, a political moderate with good ties to Lebanon's former power broker Syria, has said he is a centrist and emphasized that he intends to include all parties as he forms a government.

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