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Emmanuel Macron criticises Lebanese leaders' 'betrayal' after PM steps down

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French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference on the situation in Lebanon, Sunday, Sept.27, 2020 in Paris.
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference on the situation in Lebanon, Sunday, Sept.27, 2020 in Paris.   -   Copyright  Lewis Joly/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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French President Emmanuel Macron attacked Lebanese leaders and Hezbollah on Sunday, sharply criticising their failure to form a new government.

He called the failure a "collective betrayal" and said that he was "ashamed" of Lebanon's leaders.

His criticism comes after Lebanon's designated prime minister Mustapha Adib stepped down on Saturday citing a failure to develop a new government.

Crisis in Lebanon escalated significantly after an explosion near the port of Beirut killed 190 and injured thousands on August 4.

Many have blamed the explosion on government mismanagement that allowed 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate to be stored in a warehouse at the port.

International donors have said aid to the government is contingent on reforms being implemented.

The French president has led the international effort, visiting Lebanon multiple times since the explosion and urging leaders to institute reforms.

Macron said on Sunday that Hezbollah, a militant group whose political wing holds power in Lebanon's Parliament, "must not think it is stronger than it is".

He said Hezbollah “cannot at the same time be an army at war against Israel, a militia unleashed against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon."

He continued to promote his proposed roadmap and said that without reform the country was "heading toward a crisis that would not only be a political crisis but that would only lead to the risk of a civil war."