Lebanon's Hariri discusses with France's president Macron future government

Lebanese PM-designate Saad al-Hariri on Wednesday dined with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the crisis in Lebanon and the difficulties in forming a new government, Reuters reported, citing Hariri's Twitter account.

Macron has been spearheading international efforts to rescue the former French protectorate from its deepest crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. He is trying to use Paris' historical influence in Lebanon to persuade squabbling politicians to adopt a roadmap and form a new government to root out corruption, a prerequisite for international donors including the IMF to unlock billions of dollars in aid. However, those efforts have so far failed.

Highlighting some of that frustration, the French presidency did not include the dinner on Macron's public agenda keeping the meeting private. Officials had declined to comment earlier in the day on whether the two men would even meet.

Hariri, a former prime minister, was given the task of forming a government after Mustapha Adib resigned in September. He is so far struggling to cobble together a cabinet to share power with all Lebanese parties, including Iran-aligned Hezbollah.

Paris was not initially keen for Hariri to take up the role, having previously failed to implement reforms, French officials have said. But given the lack of progress in forming a credible government, Macron did not oppose the nomination.

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