French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said – yesterday, Wednesday – that he will carry a strongly worded message to Lebanese politicians when he visits Beirut today, Thursday, warning of punitive measures against those who obstruct the political process.
The minister added, through his Twitter account, that the visit is an expression of France’s solidarity with the Lebanese, and that France will deal firmly with those who are obstructing the formation of a new Lebanese government.
Le Drian said that the national measures will include preventing entry to French territory, but it is not clear the extent of the impact of such measures, as many Lebanese officials are of dual nationality and cannot be prevented from entering, while some of those who can be accused of obstructing the political process do not travel. To France only rarely.
The visit comes after Paris said it had begun taking measures restricting the entry of Lebanese officials to France, on the grounds that they were obstructing efforts to find a solution to the political and economic crisis in Lebanon.
However, no official announcement has yet been made about the measures that have already been taken, or those targeted by those measures, and French officials have refused to comment or respond to requests for more details.
France was at the forefront of international efforts to save Lebanon from its worst crisis since the civil war between 1975 and 1990, but it has so far failed – after 8 months – to persuade the conflicting politicians to adopt a road map for reform, or to form a new government to allow international aid to be sent to the country.