Int’l Community’s Message to Lebanon: Reforms, Dissociation Policy
Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab still have the chance to bring the country closer to the international community and work on stopping its economic collapse, European and Arab diplomats have said.
The diplomats told Asharq Al-Awsat that one such measure includes abiding by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai’s recent call for Lebanon’s “neutrality.”
They criticized Aoun for not heeding international and Arab advice in changing his policies, and Diab for making indirect references to several Arab states in an attempt to blame them for the siege imposed on his government.
Rai’s insistence on Lebanon’s neutrality not just represents the stance of the Vatican, but also of the United States, Britain and France, said the diplomats.
Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Diab will be informed of the need to dissociate Lebanon from the region’s crises when French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visits Beirut this week, they told Asharq Al-Awsat.
They said the Lebanese government has been cornered. Both Aoun and Diab should start working on enacting financial reforms to avoid chaos, and abide by the dissociation policy mentioned in the policy statement.
Distancing Lebanon from the region’s crises would be considered the first step in enacting the required political reforms, said the diplomats.
The economic reforms and the dissociation policy are two interlinked tracks, they added.
The diplomats also warned the Lebanese government not to sidestep the explicit call of the international community to work on both tracks as the only means to limit Lebanon’s isolation and release much required funds pledged at a donor conference in 2018.