French Envoy Arrives in Beirut for Talks with Top Officials
The director of the Middle East and North Africa department at the French foreign ministry, Christophe Farnaud, arrived Tuesday afternoon in Lebanon for talks with top officials.
Earlier in the day, several prominent civil society groups such as Beirut Madinati and the Legal Agenda said they had declined invitations to hold meetings with Farnaud, who has apparently sought to explore the stances of the protest movement.
Al-Joumhouria daily reported Friday that France is seeking to help Lebanon resolve the crisis of forming a new government in light of the stalled efforts and the swelling street protests against the political elite.
High-ranking diplomatic sources told the daily that France was exerting “unremitting, robust efforts” to push for a solution.
Saad Hariri tendered his government's resignation on October 29 in response to pressure from the nationwide protests.
The cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity but efforts to form a new line-up seem to be stalling, with each faction in the outgoing coalition seeking to salvage some influence.
The World Bank on Wednesday warned that the failure to quickly form a government that meets protesters' demands could lead to an even sharper economic downturn.