French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that Paris is about to work on concrete proposals against people he described as neglecting the public interest in Lebanon in order to achieve their own interests.
In a speech to the French Senate on Wednesday, Le Drian stressed that Paris will not hesitate to assume its responsibilities and take appropriate measures regarding what is happening in Lebanon.
“I want to inform you that there are concrete proposals under preparation against those who neglected the public interest, for the sake of their own interests. If some Lebanese political actors do not assume their responsibilities, we will not hesitate to take our responsibilities in this regard,” he said.
“The decisions that they (Lebanese politicians) will take or refuse to take in the coming days will be specific, and this is my message and the message of the President of the Republic that we conveyed to the main actors in Lebanon yesterday. France, on its part, continues to stand by the Lebanese people,” he added.
The French Foreign Minister accused the Lebanese political forces of committing what he described as a crime of not saving the country, and said that they were facing a dangerous situation, and held the Lebanese political forces responsible for the ongoing crisis and the deliberate disruption of the path of forming the new government.
He said that Paris knows those responsible for this crisis, “and their blind way, constitutes the crime of failing to provide relief to a country in danger, despite all the pledges they made on the first of last September regarding the reforms that should be undertaken and known to all.”
Dismantle the mafia
This came a day after an open letter was sent to the French President urging him to freeze the suspicious assets of Lebanese officials in France, with the aim of dismantling a “political and economic mafia” that plunged Lebanon into crisis and misery.
The letter urged Macron to issue instructions “in order to implement the legal mechanism to freeze assets of questionable origin that Lebanese political and economic leaders own in France.”
The letter was signed by more than 100 Lebanese civil society figures and was published in the French newspaper Le Monde.
It stated that “the political and economic mafia is responsible for the misery, hunger and insecurity that many Lebanese suffer from.”
Macron had called for a radical change in Lebanon after the Beirut port bombing last year, which led to the deaths of more than 200 people and thousands of injuries, and led to the destruction of a huge part of the city.
Hit the French initiative
In a related context, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that the Banque du Liban (the Central Bank) bears responsibility for the financial crisis and disrupts a criminal audit of the bank’s accounts, which is considered a blow to the French initiative to solve the crisis.
In a televised speech, Aoun added that dropping the criminal audit of the Banque du Liban accounts hit the government’s decision, noting that serious will is not available to conduct a criminal financial audit.
He revealed that the Banque du Liban refused to answer 73 of the 133 questions sent by the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal to conduct the audit.
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