Diplomatic dynamics: Quintet Committee's intensified movement amid southern escalation

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2023-12-04 | 00:57
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Diplomatic dynamics: Quintet Committee's intensified movement amid southern escalation
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Diplomatic dynamics: Quintet Committee's intensified movement amid southern escalation

The field escalation surrounding the southern borders Sunday, an extension of the deterioration that began last Friday, did not overshadow the continuation of the momentum of the communications conducted by the French presidential envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian a few days ago.

This article was originally published in and translated from Lebanese newspaper Nidaa Al-Watan.
Amid expectations of the arrival of the Qatari envoy, Jassim bin Fahd Al Thani, to Beirut this week, the movement of communications related to the Lebanese file was notable on the sidelines of the Global Climate Summit in Dubai.

The Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Sunday, had met with French President Emmanuel Macron a day before. 

From Dubai to Doha, President Macron met with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

However, the common denominator of these communications, both in Lebanon and abroad, is the movement of the Quintet Committee for Lebanon, which includes, in addition to France, Egypt and Qatar, both the United States and Saudi Arabia.

Informed sources revealed to Nidaa Al-Watan that the Quintet countries had recently intensified their movement toward the Lebanese crisis in all its dimensions.

In addition to the "main concern" of the committee to keep Lebanon away from the war in Gaza, the movement focuses on files such as extending the term of Army Commander General Joseph Aoun, presidential elections, and the implementation of Resolution 1701.

The sources explained that Resolution 1701 "requires separate negotiations whose details have not developed yet."

As for the extension of General Aoun's term and the presidential elections, the Qatari envoy, who will arrive after the French envoy, will clarify that Lebanon has two options: either to go now to extend the term of the army commander or to elect a new president.

They said, "Anyone who does not want to extend the term of the army commander puts himself in confrontation with the Quintet Committee because it legitimizes chaos in the country and places it outside international legitimacy, exposing Lebanon to dangerous possibilities."

The sources added, "The inevitability of the third option in the elections is due to the absence of chances for the two proposed candidates at the moment, which requires going for consensus to meet the conditions of Lebanese interest and the political moment."

Additionally, the sources said that holding presidential elections now would complete the structure of the institutional state, enriching it beyond the extension of the term of the army commander.

The sources concluded by saying, "If it is not possible to hold presidential elections, the international community cannot accept emptying the institution of the army at a delicate and critical stage."

"Therefore, the recent messages of the Quintet were strong in tone, even if they came within the negotiating framework, and it was exemplified in Le Drian's dealing with Deputy Gebran Bassil," the sources stressed.

Regarding the clashes in the south, Caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, who returned from a European tour that included Brussels and Barcelona, revealed to Nidaa Al-Watan that Israel sent several messages regarding the south with parties from the European Union conveyed by Josep Borrell, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in the EU and through the Vatican.

These messages, as Bou Habib said, "Stated that Lebanon must implement UN Resolution 1701 and that the presence of Hezbollah should be north of the Litani River, not in its south."

Diplomatic sources following up indicated that Western countries, especially the United States, are exerting pressure on Israel not to carry out any escalatory strikes in the south.

Moreover, the sources pointed out that Hezbollah has no intention to escalate tensions.
 

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