| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

Before sanctions’ imposition, an exploratory visit by Borrell

World countries are dealing with the Lebanese issue on two prospects, the first as if a government is to be formed, and the second, as if a government won’t be formed.

France asked the European Union (EU) a special sanction’s system to be imposed on all those hindering the government formation process, the EU, and according to European sources complied. These sourses told (Sawt Beirut International) that the EU’s Foreign Ministers Administration headed by Joseph Borell participated in setting this system. But no sanctions will be imposed before further discussions with the Lebanese officials regarding the importance of a soon government formation. Borell took over this mission, as he will arrive to Beirut today, and will start his meetings tomorrow on the basis of “the carrot and the stick.”.
Sources revealed that great progress has been achieved in creating this system, which will be applied on unspecified parties, it will target individuals and groups, but it needs the Union’s 27 member states approval.  Borrell is visiting Beirut at the request of the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to explore the Lebanese situation, especially as the implementation of the system needs accuracy, for not to be challenged.

And so, Borrell’s visit aims at showing  EU and France’s desire to contribute to the solution, and to offer his services in helping the country in overcoming the current situation. This move comes prior to the EU’s serious implementation of sanctions. Borrell will express the union’s intention to seek help and find solutions to the crisis. Noting that the European sanctions are carried out under French pressure, with the agreement of EU countries’ majority except for two countries only, but it and will not constitute an obstacle as a solution will be found.  The sources reveal that sanctions will be imposed on individuals and groups and not on Lebanon as a state, but its repercussions and effects are being studied. Borrell’s visit does not include a new initiative, the solution is well known, a government of specialists that undertakes reforms and then receives financial aid from International Community.

Borrell will brief the Eu with the results of his visit to Lebanon, but sources consider that he will not feel seriousness by some parties regarding the government formation, and thus the Europeans will have to decide on their stance vis a vis the sanctions, whether it will be comprehensive, or each country will impose its sanctions individually.

So, there are sanctions if a government is not formed. But France and the Union will not abandon Lebanon, as there is assistance to the Lebanese army, and social assistance within the framework of a certain administration for proceeding with providing threatened services due to the collapse. But in case a government is formed, there will be an international grace period so the country can catch its breath internally and arrange matters before entering the reforms’ stage, which will require bold decisions and a key role to be played by the House of Representatives, in coordination with the political parties.