Lebanon: France won’t hesitate to shoulder its responsibilities, says Minister
Lebanon – Reply by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the Senate
Paris, 7 April 2021
You described the situation in Lebanon and what’s actually happening there; let me add to your description by informing you that Lebanon’s gross domestic product has been reduced to what it was in the 2000s.
This crisis isn’t linked to a natural disaster; it has clearly-identified people responsible, because faced with this situation, Lebanon’s political forces are refusing to agree on the composition of a government. Their blindness is a crime of non-assistance to a country in danger, and yet as you said, commitments were made on 1 September 2020, including on all the reforms to be carried out, which everyone is familiar with.
The deliberate blocking of any prospect of a way out of the crisis, by certain players in the Lebanese political system in particular, through ill-considered demands and demands from another time, must stop.
I’d like to inform you that concrete proposals are being drawn up vis-à-vis these very people who have abandoned the general interest in favour of their personal interests. And if certain Lebanese political players don’t shoulder their responsibilities, we won’t hesitate to shoulder ours in this respect. The decisions they take or refuse to take over the next few days will be decisive.
That was the message President Macron and I conveyed to Lebanon’s main leaders yesterday.
France, for its part, continues to stand with the Lebanese people. We know that Lebanon can count on Lebanese men and women of considerable merit, within civil society, who are intent on genuinely working to build tomorrow’s Lebanon.
So we intend to work with those who embody the hope and future of that country, and we’ll spare no effort to that end./.
Paris, 29 March 2021
M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, spoke to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri. The Minister deplored the months-long total deadlock in the discussions aimed at forming a government in Lebanon, at a time when the country continues to descend into a major economic, social, humanitarian and political crisis, for which the Lebanese people are paying the price every day, putting the country under dangerous and unnecessary pressure. He reiterated that Lebanon’s political forces as a whole bear complete responsibility for this impasse.
In this context, the deliberate blocking of any prospect of a way out of the crisis, particularly from certain individuals in Lebanon’s political system, by ill-considered demands from another time, must end immediately. In this regard, the Minister recalled the discussion begun on his initiative with his European counterparts the previous week, with a view to identifying European Union leverage for stepping up pressure on those responsible for the deadlock.
As it has always done, France stands alongside the Lebanese people. Since the explosion of 4 August it has delivered and is continuing to deliver in humanitarian terms, to the direct benefit of the Lebanese population. To this end it has mobilized its European and international partners. But the solution for pulling Lebanon out of the crisis requires a competent government, ready to work seriously and in the general interest on implementing reforms of which everyone is aware. That is the responsibility of all Lebanon’s political forces, which have pledged before the French President to do so, for the sake of their country and the Lebanese people. 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./.