French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna warned on Friday that crisis-hit Lebanon will continue its collapse if Lebanese officials do not get up to save their country, as she reiterated France’s support for the Lebanese people.
Speaking at the annual meeting of France’s ambassadors throughout the world, after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister said that Lebanon “is going through an unprecedented economic crisis,” warning that “its collapse will carry on if Lebanese officials do not wake up to save their country.”
Colonna confirmed that France “has the responsibility to provide support for the exhausted Lebanese people and that Paris must use its influence in Lebanon to put an end to neglect and abuse” the Lebanese are enduring.
During the meeting, Colonna highlighted the regional crises including the Middle East issues, the Iranian nuclear file, Iraq and Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the situation in Lebanon.
Colonna’s comments uphold French President Emmanuel Macron’s position towards Lebanon. He repeatedly expressed support for Lebanon, and in August he pledged that he will not let Lebanon “collapse and vanish.”
In the past two years, Paris has vowed to impose “sanctions” on Lebanese politicians and other Lebanese figures it believes constitute an obstacle preventing Lebanon from steering out of its crisis and obstructing democracy and reform.
The two French officials have not touched on the main issue, the presidential elections, troubling the political class and Lebanese at present.
President Michel Aoun’s term ends on October 31.
France wants Lebanon to avoid an institutional vacuum in the executive authority if a new president is not elected within the constitutional deadline. The government then gets set for a caretaker capacity.
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati’s attempts to form a government and end political deadlock have failed.