Paris prepares joint American, Saudi, Qatari meeting to resolve Lebanon presidential vacuum

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2022-12-22 | 05:17
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Paris prepares joint American, Saudi, Qatari meeting to resolve Lebanon presidential vacuum
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Paris prepares joint American, Saudi, Qatari meeting to resolve Lebanon presidential vacuum

It is expected that the external movement around and towards Lebanon will be active at the beginning of next year, amid differing estimates of what might result from it in terms of the ability to secure an internal and external quorum that would allow ending the presidential vacancy that has been going on for about two months. 

 

Al-Akhbar learned that an American-French-Saudi-Qatari meeting is being prepared in the French capital before the end of the year to discuss the outcome of the discussions and contacts that Paris and Doha led in the past months with the Lebanese political forces about the names of potential candidates for the presidency and the possibility of marketing them.

 

This article was originally published in, and translated from, the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar.

 

With the postponement of the election of the President of the Republic to the new year, the results of the visits of Representative Gebran Bassil and Army Commander General Joseph Aoun to Doha are still being scrutinized, amid information confirming that the head of the Free Patriotic Movement informed the Qataris of his rejection of Joseph Aoun's candidacy to the same degree that he rejects the candidacy of the head of the Marada Movement, Sleiman Frangieh, stressing that the solution cannot be in isolation from the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah.

 

In Beirut, the "Paris meeting" is dealt with based on two approaches, namely: the prevailing belief that the meeting is a continuation of the Doha consultations and to present the results and explore the possibility of using them to achieve a breakthrough in the wall of the crisis, by developing a joint action plan among the participating countries.

 

The second approach deals with the diplomatic movement with a perception that it won't achieve any breakthrough, given that the fate of the crisis is closely linked to the rest of the region's crises. It is too early to expect any decisive development, primarily since regional parties, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, deal with the Lebanese file as part of the whole. The Kingdom places the Lebanese issue at the bottom of its priorities. 

 

Saudi Arabia has not yet announced a clear position that serves the options of other countries that seek to transform their initiatives into settlements, especially France, which has worked and is still working on setting a specific time limit that leads to reaching a political settlement that includes the election of a president and then the formation of a government. This is also linked to a socio-economic plan to prevent Lebanon from collapsing.

 

Within the framework of this approach, informed sources said, "Paris is still insisting on attracting Riyadh and pushing it more and more to get involved in the Lebanese details, but the Kingdom's position has not changed so far. 

 

The Kingdom did not discuss the names of candidates but adhered to a program of conditions compatible with its interests, and it does not intend to proceed with a settlement. 

 

Rather the Kingdom has informed everyone who tries to involve it in the solution, the latest of which is Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who recently met Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the opening of the World Cup in Qatar and again on the sidelines of the Arab-Chinese summit in Saudi Arabia, that its dealings with Lebanon are limited to the Saudi-French joint fund to help Lebanon.

 

Accordingly, there are only expectations in the political scenes rather than facts about a path controlled by regional and international variables.

 

In light of this, it is difficult to predict any steps that would enhance the chances of consensus soon on electing a president. 

 

The French initiative and the Qatari movement are still stalled by the decline of Saudi and American interest in Lebanon, which was evident in dropping any reference to Lebanon, even in terms of support, from the final statement of the "Baghdad Summit 2" that was held in Aqaba, Jordan.

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