France says Lebanon risks being ostracised if presidential vacuum lingers

Lebanon risks being “ostracised” by the international community if its nearly year-long presidential vacuum drags on further, France’s special envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian told a local Lebanese newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

Lebanon has remained without a president since the conclusion of the term of former leader Michel Aoun in October of last year. The present parliament, marked by significant divisions, has made 12 unsuccessful attempts to select a new president, with the most recent session taking place in June.

Le Drian conveyed to the Lebanese newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour that he intends to arrange a series of “consultations” with various political figures. He expressed his hope that, following these consultations, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri would initiate the convening of consecutive and transparent parliamentary sessions.

“I hope that the actors are aware that a way out must be found; otherwise, they will be ostracised by the international community. No one will want to see them anymore, and it will be unnecessary to seek support here or there,” Le Drian said.

The inability to elect a president has exacerbated sectarian tensions in Lebanon, a country already entangled in one of the most severe economic crises globally and grappling with unparalleled political gridlock, as its cabinet remains only partially empowered.

Lebanon has not been able to implement the necessary reforms to qualify for the $3 billion funding offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Donor nations have intervened to provide financial assistance for various public services, but their patience with Lebanon’s recurring appeals for additional funding has worn thin.

On Tuesday, Le Drian stated that the United States, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, five pivotal countries that had been collaborating on strategies to assist Lebanon in overcoming its political deadlock, were now contemplating a reevaluation of their assistance efforts.

“The five are wondering how long they will continue to help Lebanon,” he said.

These five nations had previously deliberated over potential actions to be taken against politicians and factions that were impeding the presidential election process.

Scroll to Top