France warns against 'interference' in Lebanon government

25th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Lebanon's newly appointed Hezbollah-backed prime minister must form a new government without outside "interference", France's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

"It is essential that it is done within the framework of the constitution .... and reflects the independent and sovereign choice of the Lebanese people, without any interference and through dialogue," it said.

The statement added that "France takes note of the designation of Najib Mikati" to succeed Saad Hariri, whose pro-Western cabinet collapsed earlier this month.

The appointment has sparked widespread anger within Lebanon's Sunni community, who view it as a bid by Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah to impose on them the Shiite group's choice for the premiership.

But Mikati, a political moderate with good ties to Lebanon's former power broker Syria, has said he is a centrist and emphasised that he intends to include all parties as he forms a government.

© 2011 AFP

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