Anti-goverment protests in Beirut turn violent

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During his second visit to Lebanon after the Beirut blast, Macron expressed his readiness to host another donor conference for the country.

Lebanon's prime minister-designate has called for a new government to be formed "in record time" hours before the French President is due to visit the crisis-hit country.

French President Emmanuel Macron (right) plants a cedar tree during a ceremony on Tuesday marking the centenary of Lebanon's creation in Jaj Cedar Reserve Forest, near Beirut.

"Everything is ready, but political will is needed", he said on a visit to Beirut port, the scene of last month's devastating blast that cost more than 180 lives.

Adib was Lebanon's ambassador to Germany before he was called back abruptly for the prime minister job after Lebanese political parties reached a surprise agreement.

In a press statement, Macron pointed out that he returned to Beirut to verify developments regarding the humanitarian aid that followed the deadly explosion at Beirut port on August 4.

Mr Adib, Lebanon's ambassador to Germany, secured at least 66 votes, or more than half of the 120 MPs now serving in the Lebanese parliament, after the Christian Free Patriotic Movement announced it had nominated him.

"Lebanon can not be abandoned to its solitude", the pope said.

Adib, a Sunni Muslim, has taught at universities in France and Lebanon and previously served as an adviser to former Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Protests against Lebanon's government have been raging since October of past year but slowed down during the Covid-19 pandemic - only to pick up again after the deadly blast in Beirut's port.

The August 4 explosion came after months of Lebanon's worst economic crisis in decades - which has seen poverty soar to more than half the population - and a coronavirus outbreak.

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Despite public anger, the Lebanese people had democratically elected their current leaders, he argued.

He proposed holding a conference to review political progress in Paris in late October, in tandem with a conference on worldwide aid under the auspices of the United Nations.

He also said he would return to Lebanon in December to follow up on progress.

On August 9, worldwide donors pledged over around $300 million in emergency aid, during a video conference jointly organised by France and the United Nations.

Earlier Sunday, the head of the powerful Hezbollah militant group, Hassan Nasrallah, said his supporters would cooperate and facilitate the formation of a government that would be able to improve economic conditions and undertake major reforms.

Analyst Karim Bitar said that, considering the speed with which the prime minister was nominated, Lebanon could actually have a new government within the next few weeks.

"This is exactly the discussion we had an hour ago (and) it should not be a taboo", he said.

The French leader is expected to meet with him and with President Barham Salih during his one-day trip, which comes amid a severe economic crisis and pandemic that has put a huge strain on Iraqi politics.

"But I very much doubt that they... would accept the structural reforms, the systemic reforms that Lebanon desperately needs because that would mean their own disappearance ultimately".

Already dismissed by the opposition as a product of Lebanon's reviled sectarian-based politics, Mr Adib faces the daunting task of steering the state through one of the deepest crises of its troubled 100-year history.

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