Published: 2021-07-13 10:47
Last Updated: 2022-05-22 04:27
The European Union has said it wants to agree by the end of July on a legal framework for sanctions targeting Lebanon's bickering leaders but noted that these sanctions may not be implemented immediately.
The European Union, in an effort led by France, wants to intensify pressure on Lebanon's politicians, 11 months after the outbreak of a crisis that has put the country in the face of financial collapse, fierce inflation, power cuts and shortages of fuel and food.
This step comes within the framework of broader international efforts aimed at pressing for the formation of a stable government capable of implementing decisive reforms after a year of political chaos following the explosion of the Port of Beirut.
"I can say the goal is to complete this by the end of the month. I'm not talking about implementing the system, but just building the system on a sound legal basis," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Brussels.
Nearly a year after the August 4th explosion, which killed more than 200 people and injured thousands, as well as destroyed large swathes of the capital, Lebanon is still run by a caretaker government.
"Lebanon has been in a state of self-destruction for several months...and now there is a major emergency for a population in distress," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Brussels.
The European Union first needs to put in place sanctions that would allow for travel bans and asset freezes.
Le Drian said that there is now consensus among the 27 EU countries on the development of this system.
An EU diplomatic note seen by Reuters showed that the criteria for imposing sanctions would likely include corruption, obstruction of government formation efforts, financial mismanagement and human rights abuse.