EU adopts legal framework for Lebanon sanctions - statement


Lebanese flag flutters at the site of last year's Beirut port blast, during sunset in Beirut, Lebanon, July 29, 2021. Picture taken July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union said on Friday it had adopted a legal framework for a sanctions regime targeting Lebanese individuals and entities after a year of crisis that has left Lebanon facing financial collapse, hyperinflation and food and fuel shortages.

In a statement it said the framework provided for the possibility of imposing sanctions on those responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon.

Led by France, the EU is seeking to ramp up pressure on Lebanon's squabbling politicians, part of broader international efforts to force a stable government capable of carrying out crucial reforms to emerge from political chaos and economic collapse following a blast that ravaged Beirut port.

"It is, however, of the utmost importance that the Lebanese leadership put aside their differences and work together to form a government and enact the measures required to steer the country towards a sustainable recovery," the EU statement said.

The EU cautioned earlier in July that the sanctions measures would not be immediately implemented.

The sanctions regime could see individuals hit by travel bans and asset freezes, although it may also decide to not list anybody immediately. Diplomats have said targets are not likely to be decided before the end of the summer.

EU persons and entities are also forbidden from making funds available to those listed, the statement said.

Criteria for EU sanctions would include corruption, obstructing efforts to form a government, financial misdeeds and human rights abuses.

(Reporting by John Irish, editing by Louise Heavens and Nick Macfie)

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