French sanctions on the table for Lebanese officials as deadline looms: Elysee source

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Paris is “closely” following efforts to form a new Lebanese government, a French presidential source said Thursday, adding that sanctions could be implemented on officials who obstruct these efforts.

“French sanctions against Lebanese officials are not [far off], but France will not issue them if there is progress on forming a new government,” the source told Al Arabiya.

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French President Emmanuel Macron made two visits in less than a month to Lebanon after the deadly Aug. 4 explosions at the Port of Beirut.

During his second trip, Macron laid out a timeline and framework for Lebanese officials to adhere to in forming a new government.

Mustapha Adib was designated to head a new government and officials promised Macron that the new government would materialize within 15 days.

Read more: US still opposed to Hezbollah’s participation in Lebanon govt: Official

As of Thursday, five days remained until the deadline is reached.

Macron threatened to slap sanctions on any Lebanese officials or politicians who prevented progress on the new cabinet. He said this would be done in coordination with the European Union.

Washington designated Lebanon’s former finance minister and public works minister earlier this week over their support for Hezbollah and corruption.

Read more: Lebanese officials hit by US sanctions over corruption, support to Hezbollah

The French presidential source refused to comment on the US move.

As for an international donor conference for Lebanon’s reconstruction efforts planned for October, the source said it depended on forming a new government.

In Macron’s timeline for Lebanon, he said he would be back in December. The source said that trip is still planned, despite Lebanese media outlets reporting that he had canceled his trip.

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