French President Emmanuel Macron, who is on his second trip to Beirut, said that he expected Lebanese officials to deliver on their promises regarding reforms in the country within eight weeks, or else help will discontinue.
“If by the end of October the Lebanese authorities do not deliver on their promises, we will not offer help to Lebanon. I will explain to the Lebanese that we wanted to help but cannot do it due to lack of reforms,” Xinhua news agency quoted Macros as saying to the media here on Tuesday, the last day of his visit.
The President did not rule out the possibility of imposing sanctions on Lebanese authorities if they fail to implement reforms.
“We will reach the sanctions level when we become able to hold specific people responsible for corruption and the lack of reforms in addition to identifying those responsible for illegal financial practices or other malpractices.”
Macron said that he has agreed with Lebanese authorities to follow a roadmap which was approved by all political parties during the visit.
The roadmap, according to the French leader, includes reforms in the electricity, banking and judicial sectors, in addition to conducting a forensic audit for the Central Bank of Lebanon.
Macron said that France will focus on four priorities in Lebanon in the coming period — offering 7 million euros ($8 million) to fight against Covid-19, enhancing food security, providing funds and books to schools, and the reconstruction of Beirut’s port.
He arrived in Beirut on Monday and then met Lebanese senior officials and civil society representatives, as well as attending several local activities.
Macron also visited Beirut’s port to follow up on the work at the site following the August 4 explosions that killed 190 people, destroyed around 8,000 buildings and left some 300,000 homeless.
This was his second visit to Lebanon in less than a month.