NNA - Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti announced at a joint press conference with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, that "France is attached to Lebanon and is monitoring the ongoing efforts to overcome the crises facing us. What is of great importance today is introducing reform to the system."
"It is key to pursue negotiations with the International Monetary Fund so as to achieve reform and get Lebanon out of this major dilemma," he stressed.
"It is necessary to build a safety net in Lebanon, and a suitable environment is required to implement the Cedre projects. We have to act quickly, as time is not in our favor. The Cedre Conference reflects French interest in Lebanon," Hitti added, noting that "France has always supported the UNIFIL peace force, and we are keen not to tamper with its tasks. We also thank France's aid to Francophone schools."
For his part, the French Minister said: "I am delighted to be in Lebanon at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron. I am here to confirm France's backing to Lebanon and its standing on the side of the Lebanese people. We have a shared history and a distinct link between us."
"I carry a message to Lebanon, in the form of a slogan: Help us so we can help you," he said.
"This stage is critical; Lebanon is facing a delicate situation and the economic crisis is rampant and has consequences on the Lebanese. France insists on standing with the Lebanese people in these dreadful times. My presence here today is proof of France's continued support for Lebanon and its standing alongside its people."
"We seek to avoid the crisis' effects on social coexistence in Lebanon," Le Drian went on to say.
"The means to arrange the situation in Lebanon are found in the decisions of the Cedre Conference, and implementing reform is crucial to rescuing Lebanon from its ordeal. It is urgent and necessary to follow the path of reform, and this message I carry to all Lebanese official and political forces. This does not only reflect the aspirations of France, but those of the international community as a whole," the French FM added, calling for the re-launching of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, as "there is no alternative solution to get Lebanon out of its crisis."