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7 Jul, 2021 14:32

French ambassador to Lebanon slams PM for shifting blame for economic crisis from own ‘mismanagement’

French ambassador to Lebanon slams PM for shifting blame for economic crisis from own ‘mismanagement’

France’s ambassador to Lebanon has called out the country’s prime minister for blaming the country’s bad economic state on external forces, claiming instead that years of government “mismanagement” is the real root of the problem.

Anne Grillo, France’s envoy to Lebanon, clapped back at comments made by the Lebanese leader, Hassan Diab, on Tuesday. Grillo implored the caretaker prime minister to stop playing the blame game over the country’s economic crisis. “It is not the result of an external siege. It is the result of your own responsibilities, all of you, for years, of the political class. This is the reality,” she said.

The ambassador insisted that the country’s economic problems stem from years of “mismanagement and inactivity.”

Grillo’s statement comes a day after Prime Minister Diab warned that a social explosion in the country was imminent, proclaiming: “I call on the world to save Lebanon.” He claimed his country was under siege, and that “linking Lebanon’s assistance to the formation of a new government has become a threat to the lives of the Lebanese and to the Lebanese entity.”

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The Middle Eastern country’s economy took a massive blow in 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic temporarily halting business and trade, as well as suffering from a massive deadly explosion in the Port of Beirut. This led to unrest and the collapse of the government.

The country is currently experiencing a dire economic depression so severe that it is likely to rank among the three worst crises since the mid-19th century, the World Bank’s Lebanon Economic Monitor said in early June. Lebanon’s GDP decreased by nearly 20% in 2020.

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In an attempt to help some of the hardest-hit sections of the Lebanese population, the country’s parliament approved an annual $556 million cash payment to be sent to poor families on June 30. Under the plan, 750,000 families will receive up to $137 a month.

According to the World Bank, almost half of Lebanon’s population of some six million live in impoverished conditions, with almost a quarter in extreme poverty.

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