France says Lebanon crisis 'alarming', fears violence

FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a session of questions to the Government at the French National Assembly in Paris, France May 26, 2020, as France eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Christophe Archambault/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s foreign minister expressed alarm on Wednesday over the crisis in Lebanon and said social discontent could lead to an escalation in violence.

“The situation is alarming, with an economic, financial, social and humanitarian crisis now reinforced by the risks of the coronavirus,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary hearing.

“The worsening social crisis ... risks increasing the risk of violence,” he said, referring to recent inter-religious violence.

He said the government had to implement reforms so that the international community could help Lebanon and that he would head to Beirut soon to make that clear to authorities.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Gareth Jones