Diplomatic Missions Fall Victim to Cabinet Paralysis

Diplomats have said that Paris was able to clinch the Lebanese authorities' approval to appoint Emmanuel Bonne as ambassador to Beirut despite the failure of several missions to receive a positive feedback from the Lebanese authorities.

The diplomats, who were not identified, told An Nahar daily published on Tuesday that “only France has so far been able to receive an official approval (from Beirut) to appoint Bonne.”

The request of his appointment had been made before the paralysis of the government, they said.

Lebanon is suffering from a political crisis that erupted following the end of President Michel Suleiman's term.

The government assumed the responsibilities of the head of state in his absence but sharp differences have stopped it short of taking important decisions.

Bonne, who is Hollande's adviser for North Africa, the Middle East and the United Nations, will succeed Ambassador Patrice Paoli.

A European diplomat told An Nahar that other diplomatic missions based in Beirut are facing problems because of the absence of a president.

The new ambassadors are either arriving in Beirut to carry out administrative tasks pending Lebanon's official approval of their appointment, or the charges d'affaires are playing the role of the mission chiefs, the diplomat said.

The European Union mission in Lebanon is among other missions that have fallen victim to the presidential vacuum and the government paralysis.

The head of the delegation, Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, was appointed as Director for Western Europe, the Western Balkans and Turkey and left Beirut end of July.

The EU has informed Beirut authorities that it would send Danish diplomat Christina Lassen as Eichhorst's successor.

But the EU is still waiting for the Lebanese government's approval of the appointment of Lassen, who should assume her duties next September.



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