The French authorities raised the tone after more than 7 months after Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri was appointed to form a new government before European Union foreign ministers.
Thus, the French Foreign Ministry said it had contacted the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, the Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri and the Speaker of the House Nabih Berri to stop the “deliberate obstruction” of the process of formation of the next government.
As a reminder, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, had already indicated, on March 18, that the international community will adopt a change of attitude and methods vis-à-vis Lebanon, perhaps alluding to rumors about state of the establishment of economic sanctions targeting certain Lebanese leaders.
The press release from the Quai d’Orsay
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, met with the President of the Lebanese Republic Michel Aoun, the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri and the President-designate of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri. The Minister deplored the complete blockage for months of discussions aimed at forming a government in Lebanon, even as the country continues to sink into a major economic, social, humanitarian and political crisis that the Lebanese people are paying the price for every day. , placing the country under dangerous and unnecessary tension. He recalled that the Lebanese political forces as a whole bear full responsibility for this impasse.
In this context, the deliberate obstruction of any prospect of an end to the crisis, in particular on the part of certain actors of the Lebanese political system, by reckless demands and from another era must end immediately. In this regard, the Minister recalled the reflection initiated on his initiative the previous week, with his European counterparts, with a view to identifying the European Union’s levers to strengthen the pressure on those responsible for the blockage.
France stands as it has always done alongside the Lebanese. It has been and remains at the humanitarian level for the direct benefit of the people of Lebanon since the explosion of August 4. In this sense, it mobilized its European and international partners. But to get Lebanon out of the crisis, the solution lies in the formation of a competent government, ready to work seriously and in the general interest for the implementation of reforms known to all. It is the responsibility of all the Lebanese political forces, which have committed themselves to it before the President of the French Republic, for their country and the Lebanese. The Minister told his European, regional and international counterparts that after seven months of deadlock, the time has come to step up the pressure to achieve this.
Sanctions measures already in place for some time
As a reminder, economic sanctions have already been imposed against certain Lebanese leaders, including Gébran Bassil, son-in-law of the head of state or Ali Hassan Khalil, right-hand man of the president of the chamber of deputies Nabih Berri. The imposition of economic sanctions have been raised against the governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salamé, according to sources close to US President Joe Biden but refuted by the US Embassy in Lebanon, as against President of the House Nabih Berri and Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri himself.
As a reminder, the present of the French Republic was largely invested in Lebanon, during these two trips, one on August 6, 2020 two days after the explosion in the port of Beirut and the other on September 1 in the occasion of the centenary of the proclamation of the State of Greater Lebanon.
He had thus promised the Lebanese people that a government would be formed as quickly as possible – within 6 weeks at the time – in order to put in place reforms deemed necessary by the international community for the release of economic aid. just as necessary in the face of the financial and monetary crisis that the land of cedars is currently going through.
Eight months later, no government has yet been formed in Lebanon, while the Lebanese political class is torn over the distribution of the various ministerial portfolios and the crisis situation has worsened further, with a significant deterioration in the parity of the Lebanese pound against the dollar as well as purchasing power.
Now, the minimum wage is less than two dollars a day while the poverty line is estimated at six dollars a day. 65% of the population would thus be living below this poverty line and more than 45% of the working population would be unemployed.