‘It’s a home-made crisis’
The European Union's foreign policy chief yesterday told Lebanon's leaders 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% 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 PM-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 ... including targeted sanctions," he added.