| 20 May 2024, Monday |

EU worried at Lebanon’s fast deterioration, says time has run out

The European Union is very worried about the rapid development of the crisis in Lebanon, according to its envoy in Beirut, who told Lebanese leaders that time was running out and urged them to form a government.

It underscores rising concern over a rapid worsening of the situation in Lebanon, where a two-year-old financial crisis reached a breaking point this month when gasoline shortages immobilized most of the nation, causing unrest and many security events.

“We feel extreme concern about the rapid deterioration of the economic, financial, security and social crisis,” Ambassador Ralph Tarraf said after meeting President Michel Aoun, carrying an urgent message from EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.

The EU continues to provide substantial aid to the Lebanese people, he said, but Lebanese decision-makers – who have failed to agree on a new government for a year – needed to live up to their responsibilities.

“There is no more time,” he said in remarks delivered in Arabic.

Last week, an international support group including France and the United States said the “fast-accelerating crisis underscores the utmost urgency of forming a government capable of taking the situation in hand”.

The crisis has sunk the currency by more than 90%, forced more than half of Lebanese into poverty and frozen depositors out of their accounts. The World Bank has called it one of the sharpest depressions in modern times.

  • Reuters