French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Thursday, the latest effort by Paris to pressure the country’s rival political parties into forming a Cabinet.
Mr Le Drian had warned a day prior to his arrival in Beirut that France would take punitive measures against those blocking the formation of a government that would help Lebanon tackle its economic crisis.
During his meeting with Mr Le Drian, Mr Aoun blamed prime minister designate Saad Hariri for the political impasse gripping Lebanon and said he would pursue efforts to form a Cabinet that secures a vote of confidence in parliament.
“President Aoun indicated that he will pursue efforts to attain practical results despite domestic and external obstacles, and a lack of cooperation by those concerned,” Mr Aoun’s office quoted the president as telling Mr Le Drian, in a thinly-veiled reference to Mr Hariri.
Mr Aoun said he also asked for France’s help in retrieving embezzled funds that have been channeled overseas and in cracking down on corruption.