EU foreign policy chief Borrell to return to Beirut to discuss crisis

EU foreign policy chief Borrell to return to Beirut to discuss crisis

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): The EU’s foreign policy representative, Josep Borrell, is expected to visit Lebanon on Tuesday and meet officials.

Borrell said that “the situation in Lebanon has not improved” since his last visit to the country three weeks ago.

On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council discussed the Lebanese crisis.

German news agency DPA said that the council might officially approve the adoption of sanctions against Lebanese officials considered to be undermining democracy in the country.

But the agency added that EU diplomats “are divided over the possibility of adopting sanctions, as a result of many outstanding technical and judicial points.”

Meanwhile, a diplomatic meeting was held in Beirut between the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Walid Abdullah Al-Bukhari, US Ambassador Dorothy Shea and French Ambassador Anne Grillo.

The meeting at the Saudi Embassy comes days after meetings between the US and French envoys in Riyadh with Saudi officials to develop a joint action plan for humanitarian and food assistance to Lebanon.

The US and France are seeking to motivate the provision of aid to Lebanon to protect stability and the Lebanese Army, in light of two separate statements issued last week by the American and French embassies in Lebanon.

The diplomatic efforts have ramped up amid the acceleration of the economic collapse in Lebanon and the fear that the situation could descend into chaos.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan discussed the crisis last month in Italy on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Matera, Italy.

Blinken tweeted: “Important discussion with my Saudi and French counterparts, @FaisalbinFarhan and @JY_LeDrian, regarding the need for Lebanon’s political leaders to show real leadership by implementing overdue reforms to stabilize the economy and provide the Lebanese people much-needed relief.”

In a statement issued after the tripartite meeting, the Saudi Embassy said that the discussions “focused on the most prominent political developments taking place in the Lebanese and regional arenas, in addition to issues of common interest.”

The US Embassy tweeted that the diplomatic consultations focused on​ “the dire economic situation in Lebanon and how to most effectively support the Lebanese people.”

The talks took place as the Banque du Liban (BDL) denied rumors that the central bank’s governor, Riad Salameh, had disposed of the bank’s gold.

The BDL reassured that “Lebanon’s gold is fine, untouched, and will not be touched.”

The bank added that the gold “is not subject to any pawn or pledge, as some may dream, intending to continue to drown Lebanon and harness what the country still owns for goals that harm Lebanon and do not serve its interests at all.”

 

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