And it became clear, based on Lebanese political circles, that Le Drian is referring to the entire Lebanese political class, and that Paris blames everyone, and that it raises the slogan of no favoritism to any Lebanese leader anymore.
The Lebanese circles indicated that Le Drian’s visit this time is completely different, that his meetings with the three presidents were cold, that he listened to their justifications more than he spoke to them, and that he held them responsible for thwarting France’s initiative to form a government of specialists in Lebanon.
It seems that the French official has not yet understood how what was said last summer did not find a way to be applied while we are on the verge of the following summer, and that Lebanese officials do not feel the value of time and the extent of the continuation of the crisis for additional months at the expense of a severe economic and social crisis that will increase the suffering of the Lebanese.
In his meetings with Lebanese officials, the French Foreign Minister did not address the main problem facing Lebanon, which is the hegemony of Hezbollah and Iran over the country.
Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters on Friday that France, which has spearheaded efforts to provide foreign aid to Lebanon, must move to confront the political impasse, after months of talks to form a new government that have reached a dead end.
He added that if this situation continues, there will be strict punitive measures, at the French level and perhaps at the European Union level, against Lebanese officials who obstruct the way out of the crisis.
Le Drian did not respond to questions about when the measures were imposed or who would target them.
It was interesting to Le Drian’s assertion that his country has begun implementing restrictive measures against Lebanese figures responsible for the current political deadlock, and that these measures can be tightened by supporting them with European pressure tools, which is a clear message stating that the matter is not a French position that can be overcome by betting on the factor of time, and that the sanctions may expand to become A collective European position.
Anwar al-Khalil, a member of the Lebanese Parliament, asked whether the firm message from the French Foreign Minister to the Lebanese politicians obstructing the formation of the government showed that the international community, at least France, believes that Lebanon is schizophrenic?
What the French officials, headed by President Emmanuel Macron, did not understand is how can Lebanese officials race to show their support for the French initiative and show enthusiasm for its implementation and consider it a panacea for Lebanon’s crises and then leave those pledges behind their backs once these meetings are over?
Al-Khalil expressed his hope that Le Drian’s message would be what the spoilers need in order to cure this duplicity.
“It is really urgent to find a way out of the current political impasse,” Le Drian said in statements to reporters the day after a series of meetings he held in Beirut, most notably with President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
And he considered that “to this day the political players have not lived up to their responsibilities and have not started working seriously to recover the country quickly,” warning that “if they do not act now responsibly, they must bear the consequences of this failure.”
For months, France has led international pressure to form a government of specialists, which did not bear fruit due to political divisions and differences over quotas. On Friday, Le Drian accused officials of leading the country to death. “I am here specifically to prevent this kind of mass suicide, organized by some,” he said.
In an attempt to exacerbate pressure on the political class, France last month imposed restrictions on the entry of Lebanese figures it considers responsible for political stalemate and corruption. The identity of the characters or the restrictions have not yet been revealed.