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July 23
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Criteria for European Union (EU) sanctions being prepared for Lebanese politicians are likely to be corruption, obstructing efforts to form a government, financial mishandling and human rights abuses, according to a diplomatic note seen by Reuters, the latter reported.

Led by France, the EU is seeking to ramp up pressure on Lebanon's squabbling politicians after 11 months of a crisis that has left Lebanon facing financial collapse, hyperinflation, electricity blackouts, and fuel and food shortages.

As many senior Lebanese politicians have homes, bank accounts and investments in the EU, and send their children to universities there, a withdrawal of that access could help focus minds.

Paris says it has already taken measures to restrict entry for some Lebanese officials it sees as blocking efforts to tackle the crisis, which is rooted in decades of state corruption and debt, although it has not named anybody publicly.

The note focuses on four criteria. It begins with obstructing the establishment of a government, the political process or the successful completion of the political transition and then turns to obstructing the implementation of urgent reforms needed to overcome the political, economic and social crisis.

The diplomatic note also says an "exit strategy" proposing benchmarks for establishing whether the sanctions regime has served its purpose as well as for renewing or lifting individual designations should also be put in place.

How quickly these sanctions could be imposed is still unclear.

There are divisions among the 27 EU states over the wisdom of EU sanctions, but the bloc's two main powers, France and Germany are in favor, which is likely to prove pivotal.

 

 

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