Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Hasepoyo

World

EU warns Lebanon’s leaders of sanctions over ‘home-made’ crisis, Europe News & Top Stories


BEIRUT (REUTERS) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief told Lebanon’s leaders on Saturday (June 19) they were to blame for the country’s political and economic crisis and some could face sanctions if they continue to obstruct steps to form a new government and implement reform.

Speaking after what he called a “frank exchange” with President Michel Aoun, Josep Borrell said he was bringing a firm message that the country stood on the edge of financial collapse and politicians could not afford to waste more time.

“The crisis Lebanon is facing is a domestic crisis. It’s a self-imposed crisis,” he told reporters after talks with Aoun.

“It’s not a crisis coming from abroad or from external factors. It’s a home-made crisis, a crisis done by yourselves.” Lebanon’s currency has lost 90 per cent of its value. More than half the population are living in poverty and struggling with rampant inflation, power blackouts and shortages of fuel and food.

The crisis has been exacerbated by political stalemate, with Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri at loggerheads with Aoun for months over forming a new government capable of introducing reforms which could unlock desperately needed foreign aid.

“We stand ready to assist,” Borrell said. “But if there is further obstruction to solutions to the current multi-dimensional crisis in the country, we will have to consider other courses of action as some member states have proposed.”

“The council of the European Union has been including other options including targeted sanctions.”

Possible sanctions

The possible sanctions are part of an effort by some EU states, led by France, to ramp up pressure on Lebanon’s fractious politicians after nearly a year of gridlock.

An EU diplomatic note seen by Reuters showed that criteria for the sanctions under preparation are likely to be corruption, obstructing efforts to form a government, financial mishandling and human rights abuses. The bloc has yet to decide on which approach to take.

Borrell will report back to foreign ministers on Monday after his talks in Beirut, where he was also due to meet Hariri, the speaker of parliament and the caretaker prime minister. Paris says it has already taken measures to restrict entry for some Lebanese officials it sees as blocking efforts to tackle the crisis, which is rooted in decades of state corruption and debt, although it has not named anybody publicly.

While politicians bicker, funds still bleed from the country’s Central Bank to support a fuel and food subsidy programme which costs US$6 billion (S$8.07 billion) a year and which ministers say Lebanon can no longer afford.

Foreign reserves have halved in less than two years and the bank urged the caretaker government on Wednesday to approve a plan to ration the subsidies and target people in most need.

Borrell said the country had to form a new government, agree a reform programme, and reach an IMF loan deal. Once that deal was reached, the European Union was ready to look at providing”significant amounts of money” in loans and assistance.

“Lebanon needs an agreement with the IMF and there is no time to waste,” he said. “You are at the edge of the financial collapse.”





Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

U.S.

The leader of a small hard-line party says he will try to form a unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents. Sunday’s...

Sports

Philippines’ Elreen Ann Ando competes in the women’s 64kg weightlifting competition during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo...

Politics

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military conducted a drone strike against Shabab fighters in Somalia on Friday, the second attack in a week since the...

Tech

The woman who led the design of Bumble’s dating app in the run-up to the company’s February initial public offering is joining Twitter Inc.,...

Copyright © 2020 ZoxPress Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.