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.
"It is ... 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.
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 the blast that ravaged Beirut's port almost one year ago.
"France is ready, with its European and international partners, to increase the pressure on Lebanese politicians to achieve it," said the French foreign ministry’s spokesperson.
The sanctions regime could see travel bans and asset freezes for individuals and entities, although diplomats have said targets are not likely to be decided before the end of the summer.
The EU had cautioned earlier in July that the sanctions measures would not be immediately implemented.
EU persons and entities would also be forbidden from making funds available to those listed, the statement said.
Criteria for EU sanctions would include obstructing efforts to form a government, corruption, financial misdeeds and human rights abuses.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)