Macron pledges to help Lebanon resolve crisis

French President: We will do everything to help our Lebanese friends.

Elad Benari ,

French President Emmanuel Macron with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
French President Emmanuel Macron with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin
Haim Zach (GPO)

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that his country will do "everything" to help resolve Lebanon's "deep crisis".

"We will do everything, during this deep crisis that they are going through, to help ... our Lebanese friends," Macron, who is visiting Israel, said at a press conference with President Reuven Rivlin, according to AFP.

His comments came a day after Lebanon announced the formation of a new Cabinet following a months-long impasse amid ongoing mass protests against the country's ruling elite.

New Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab convened his first cabinet, which donors hope can spearhead reforms, unlock foreign aid and help stabilize a plummeting currency.

While pledging support to France's "Lebanese friends,", Macron also stressed that he would remain "vigilant" regarding any "terrorist activity" from Lebanon that could threaten either the Lebanese people or Israel.

Diab was designated by President Michel Aoun as prime minister in mid-December, but until Tuesday had failed to form an emergency government amid political divisions and jockeying for power.

He was picked to replace former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on October 29 following the wave of protests.

The move is unlikely to satisfy protesters who have been calling for sweeping reforms in Lebanon and a government made up of independent technocrats.

The protests had been mostly peaceful but they turned violent this week as anti-riot police dispersed protesters with tear gas in the capital Beirut.

The protests in Lebanon were initially started in response to what has become known as the “WhatsApp Tax”, which would have seen a 20-cent daily fee being charged for messaging app users.

The tax was later scrapped but the protests have continued and have morphed into a cross-sectarian street mobilization against a political system seen as corrupt and broken.