BEIRUT — Three United States Congress members have called for "diplomatic tools" against "those obstructing democratic processes in Lebanon," according to a letter dated Jan. 13. The letter comes as Lebanon suffers a presidential vacancy and lacks a fully empowered cabinet amid its worst economic crisis in recent memory.
"We believe the Administration can help end the stalemate by utilizing additional diplomatic tools to hold responsible those who are continuing to obstruct democratic processes in Lebanon," the letter said, signed by House of Representatives members Darrell Issa, Darin LaHood and Debbie Dingell.
"The United States must make clear the expectations of the international community on Lebanon, including timely and representative presidential elections by the Parliament to support the ongoing needs of the people of Lebanon. Additionally, continued international engagement and assistance should reflect the ability of the Lebanese government to enact badly needed economic reforms and support for an independent country outside malign third-party influence, and judicial independence," the letter also added.
Washington has imposed sanctions on Free Patriotic Movement leader, MP Gebran Bassil, accusing him of corruption. The US also sanctioned Hezbollah, which it considers to be a terrorist organization since 1997.
In Jan. 2022, the US stated that it planned to reroute $67 million of military assistance for Lebanon's armed forces to support members of the military as the country grapples with a financial meltdown.
The US later donated 13 Humvee military vehicles, 11 other vehicles and military equipment to the Lebanese Army in November, in addition to pledging $72 million in humanitarian assistance to Lebanon.
A US mediator was behind a landmark maritime border agreement last year between Lebanon and Israeli officials, raising hopes for potential offshore gas exploitation by Lebanon.