“France has mobilized at the political level, and President Emmanuel Macron, in cooperation with the United Nations, called a meeting of the international [support group for Lebanon] twice, on August 9th and December 2nd, and €250 million were announced,” he said.
“But, after 8 months of stagnation and a blocked horizon, it seems Lebanon needs a real renewal of its political and institutional practices, and the Lebanese society, in its richness and diversity, is present for this and can draw on the democratic pluralism that is its strength.”
Le Drian had met with Lebanese officials and parties on Thursday, notably President Michel Aoun, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, and PM-designate Saad Hariri, after arriving on a mission to push for government formation and attempt to break the political deadlock. He also met with civil society organizations.
“In the face of the disruption practiced by the political forces, I felt the vitality of Lebanese civil society,” he said.
“I listened attentively to representatives of a number of parties and movements who carry projects of different political models, and I have met exceptional Lebanese women involved in amazing citizenship and solidarity projects.”
The official went on to stress that the Lebanese people have “complete independence and sovereignty” to choose what they want for their country, noting that the 2022 parliamentary elections must constitute “an opportunity for a democratic discussion about the future of Lebanon.”
He also stressed the need for Lebanon to exit the political crisis.
On Potential Sanctions
“I noticed that the political actors have not yet assumed their responsibility and have not devoted themselves to working seriously for the sake of the revival of the country,” Le Drian remarked.
“I am here to avoid this kind of mass suicide, and if they do not act responsibly starting today, they must bear the consequences of this failure and the consequences of the denial of the pledges they have made,” he warned.
“This is only the beginning,” the official added. “And if the matter continues, these steps will increase in intensity and be generalized, and will be supplemented by pressure tools that the European Union possesses and we have started to think about it.”
He finally stated: “… I conclude my mission with determination to pursue the pressure on officials to honor their pledges and, at the same time, I leave with a bit of optimism when I see the will of these people that are keen to express their strength and pride in determining the fate of Lebanon.”