EU adopts framework for sanctions on Lebanon

It is aimed at aiding formation of a government

Photo: AP A Lebanese flag set by citizens flies in front the site of an explosion that hit the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, August 9, 2020.

The European Union said on Friday it had adopted a legal framework for a sanctions regime targeting Lebanese individuals and entities after a year of crisis that has left Lebanon facing financial collapse, hyperinflation, as well as food and fuel shortages. As the EU stated, this framework would provide for the possibility of imposing sanctions on those responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon.

"It is ... of the utmost importance that the Lebanese leadership put aside their differences and work together to form a government and enact the measures required to steer the country towards a sustainable recovery," the EU statement read.

Led by France, the EU is seeking to ramp up pressure on Lebanon's squabbling politicians, part of broader international efforts to force a stable government capable of carrying out crucial reforms to emerge from political chaos and economic collapse following the blast that ravaged Beirut's port almost one year ago.

"France is ready, with its European and international partners, to increase the pressure on Lebanese politicians to achieve it," said the French foreign ministry’s spokesperson.

The sanctions regime could see travel bans and asset freezes for individuals and entities. EU persons and entities would also be forbidden from making funds available to those listed. However, diplomats have said targets are not likely to be decided before the end of the summer. Criteria for EU sanctions would include obstructing efforts to form a government, corruption, financial misdeeds and human rights abuses.

Additionally, the EU had cautioned earlier in July that the sanctions measures would not be immediately implemented.

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