French envoy Le Drian's surprise visit to Lebanon amidst Al-Aqsa Flood developments

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2023-12-07 | 01:06
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French envoy Le Drian's surprise visit to Lebanon amidst Al-Aqsa Flood developments
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French envoy Le Drian's surprise visit to Lebanon amidst Al-Aqsa Flood developments

According to a French diplomatic source, the French presidential envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, had originally intended to present a new proposal on the presidential file during his visit to Lebanon.

However, the unexpected Aqsa Flood operation disrupted the agenda.

This article was originally published in and translated from Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria.
Le Drian seized the opportunity, jumping to Lebanon the moment the ceasefire was announced, surprising the Lebanese with a visit at an unexpected time, signaling that the presidential file is no longer the top concern for the international community after developments in Gaza. The diplomatic source affirmed the accuracy of this reality.

The French diplomatic source disclosed that Le Drian would return to Beirut next month after an exploratory tour to assess the results of his recent visit to Lebanon with members of the Quintet Committee. This return aims to convey that Le Drian is persistent and serious, ensuring the Lebanese political class does not perceive him as surrendering.

The source revealed that these "returns" would be consecutive, clarifying that the repeated visits to officials are not aimed at finding a solution but at conveying messages at the appropriate time. France continues to work for Lebanon with the Quintet Committee, expressing ongoing interest and determination.

However, the source pointed out that the Lebanese should be concerned about Le Drian not returning because then, Lebanon would fall from the French list of priorities if he does not return.

On the other hand, the source denied that French Ambassador Hervé Magro's refusal to attend the invitation extended by the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Gebran Bassil, along with European ambassadors to Batroun this month was due to the recent strained meeting between Bassil and Le Drian.

The source emphasized that Magro left Lebanon for Paris due to prior work commitments. The source further refuted claims of Le Drian threatening to sever ties with the FPM, asserting that the relationship with the movement and its deputies is sound and continuous.

The French government does not halt its relations with the movement or other Lebanese political parties based on a single unsuccessful meeting. The source provided details of the brief meeting between Le Drian and Bassil at the Center Mirna Chalouhi, lasting only six minutes.

Le Drian requested to discuss the extension of the army's leadership, but Bassil declined to address the topic. Le Drian told him, "If you don't want to discuss this issue, I will leave." Following this, Le Drian left, concluding the meeting without further discussion or communication.

Regarding the achievements of Le Drian's visit, the French source confirmed that it was positive and expressive, contrary to some media reports.
 

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