Schenker: France Speaks of Sanctions on Lebanese Leaders but Imposes None
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker urged Lebanese leaders to form a government, noting that France has only waived sanctions to pressure Lebanese officials into forming a cabinet but without imposing any.
In remarks to Lebanese news portal Asas Media on Wednesday, Schenker said: “The French have talked about sanctions since the port explosion, and President Emmanuel Macron mentioned earlier that France will punish those who obstruct the formation of the government within the French initiative, but all we see is obstruction and we haven't seen any sanctions.”
He added that “sanctions may push officials to work properly, mainly that the crisis is getting worse. I have talked to everyone about this issue since I was an assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but it seems that the largest segment of the Lebanese political class lacks a sense of responsibility.”
Schenker urged Lebanese leaders to form a government saying “your country is collapsing and your people are suffering,” he said “a government must be formed soon to impose the necessary reform to pull Lebanon out of collapse.”
Last year French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a road map to break the political stalemate in the former French protectorate. Macron has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a Cabinet made up of non-partisan specialists that can work on urgent reforms to extract Lebanon from a financial crisis worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion that devastated Beirut.
Those efforts have led to nowhere as Lebanon’s politicians continue to bicker about the shape and size of a new Cabinet while the country is mired in the worst economic crisis in its modern history — a situation exacerbated by pandemic restrictions.