Borrell Blasts Bad-faith Beirut Bosses, Brandishing Bans on Blocking Bureaucrats
The European Union’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell on Saturday kicked off his two-day visit to Lebanon, urging local leadership to set aside their differences and finally form a government to end the political and economic turmoil plaguing the country. “We cannot understand that nine months after the resignation of a prime minister, there is still no government in Lebanon,” Borrell said after meeting with President Michel Aoun and before sitting down with outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, who was tapped eight months ago to establish a coalition and is still trying. “Only an urgent agreement with the International Monetary Fund will rescue the country. There is no time to waste. You are at the edge of financial collapse,” Borrell added, before threatening the stubborn Beirut politicians with sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, for their obstinacy. “Of course, we prefer not to go down this road and we hope that we will not have to,” he added. Lebanon is in the throes of its worst crisis in decades, triggered by a mixture of corruption, mismanagement, the global pandemic and the August blast which decimated the capital.