A prominent French source has expressed France’s concern about what awaits Lebanon if its officials belittle the challenges that await them. In case Lebanon fails to pay the maturing Eurobond and doesn’t reach an agreement with the payees, its decaying economy will suffer greatly.
“France is still making a great effort on the path of the United States of America and the Gulf States to keep the bitter cup away from Lebanon,” the French source told Al-Markazia, “and to avoid dealing with [Lebanon] as if it were at the heart of the ‘Iranian axis.’ “
The goal of France, here, is to guarantee Lebanon’s exclusion from the American-Iranian conflict in order to prevent its economy from deteriorating more than it has already.
The worst thing that France fears at the moment, according to the same source, is “for Lebanon to fall into the trap of companies seeking to place their hand on [its] currency reserves and gold assets.”
The expert explained that, if Lebanon defaults on its upcoming Eurobond and fails to find the middle ground with the large companies it owes, the development “will further complicate Lebanon’s crisis.”
For instance, these companies can seize all of Lebanon’s purchases, “whether raw materials for food, such as wheat or flour, or energy materials.”
This would put Lebanon in a position where it would be dependant on international aid and grants to supply its market with the basic raw materials needed for foodstuffs, “similar to Somalia, for example.”
In such a case, the companies cannot take hold of the materials, considering they’re gifts and not purchases. The French source affirmed that “[Lebanese] officials must deal wisely with this situation.”
The source concluded by saying that the officials must “immediately take steps to address their issues by fulfilling their financial obligations and tackling squander and corruption so that we can help them.”
The closest foreign bond of $1.2 billion matures on March 9th, while the debate of whether to pay or default on it continues to develop in the Lebanese financial scene.
Although some authoritarian sources have recently said that Lebanon will most likely default, the Lebanese government has yet to make an official decision in that regard.