Ambassadors of Quintet Committee meet Berri: Common ground on Presidential election urgency

Press Highlights
2024-01-31 | 01:34
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Ambassadors of Quintet Committee meet Berri: Common ground on Presidential election urgency
Ambassadors of Quintet Committee meet Berri: Common ground on Presidential election urgency

A prominent source familiar with the atmosphere of the meeting between the Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, and the ambassadors of the Quintet Committee told "Al-Joumhouria": The first message from him was to unify ranks regarding dealing with the Lebanese file and to move beyond the heart of one person.

This article is originally published in, translated from Lebanese newspaper Al-Joumhouria.
The ambassadors emphasized this when they left, insisting on answering exclusively about this question. Speaker Berri also echoed this sentiment after the meeting, stating that the position is unified and the meeting is promising.

The source added: "The five ambassadors were unanimous in the opinion that the ball is in the court of the Parliament, and the election is their primary concern," recalling statements from the US presidential envoy Amos Hochstein and a former French official, both emphasizing that the action should be exclusively with the Parliament Speaker who initiated the consultations, raising the issue of dialogue, with no need for maneuvers and rounds.

The source revealed that "none of the five ambassadors proposed an initiative or a name, and this matter had been agreed upon as a roadmap in the Yarzeh meeting. 

In summary, they were a supporting front to tell the Lebanese people, "The names are from you after consultation, support, and backing from us. Perhaps this change in stance and approach avoids the Quintet being labeled as endorsing a candidate, and the dialogue among parliamentary blocs remains the foundation."

"There was also consensus on the necessity of completing the presidential election as soon as possible, given the dangerous situation in the region," the source continued.

Berri received the ambassadors of the Quintet Committee at the second presidency in Ain el-Tineh, including Walid Al-Bukhari of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman bin Faisal Al Thani of Qatar, Hervé Magro of France, Alaa Moussa of Egypt and Lisa Johnson of the United States.

The meeting was also attended by advisors to the Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Mahmoud Berri, and Ali Hamdan.

The meeting lasted over an hour and included discussions on the latest developments, especially the presidential election. After the meeting, Berri clarified: "The stance was unified. The meeting was useful and promising."

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Egyptian ambassador said, "We will meet and agree on everything, and the position of the Quintet Committee is unified." The French ambassador also affirmed that "the ambassadors' position is unified, and we will meet with political officials in Lebanon soon."

A source participating in the meeting described it as "a friendly encounter where the presidential file was presented from all its aspects. The Quintet reiterated through its ambassadors that the main goal is to assist the Lebanese in reaching an agreement on a president as soon as possible."

 The source mentioned that it was notable during the meeting that the five ambassadors confirmed no veto on any presidential candidate. They do not endorse a specific candidate, and the urgency in electing the president is due to the ongoing security developments in the region from Gaza to southern Lebanon.

The source noted that after they meet with Berri, the Quintet will continue to communicate with the French envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian, who will visit Lebanon to motivate the Lebanese to elect a president. The ambassadors did not suggest any serious or new ideas about the presidential election. Their consensus is to leave the election to the Lebanese consensus.

Follow-up sources told "Al-Joumhouria" "the five ambassadors did not bring any new proposal or idea to advance the presidential election but rather informed those they met that the committee supports any understanding among the Lebanese to choose a president and does not have a candidate or names and does not support one person at the expense of another."

Instead, it supports what the Lebanese agree upon and calls on Lebanese officials to dialogue and agree on any candidate they want to elect because time no longer allows for further delay in these regional circumstances.

The sources explained that Berri's words after the meeting with the ambassadors "are based on his saying that it is a promising and useful meeting and that the position is unified, especially since the ambassadors supported his call for dialogue and consensus among the Lebanese."

The next destination of the ambassadors is not known after Berri. Will their tour include "Hezbollah" or not, and if the visit to the Hezb takes place, will the Saudi ambassador participate in it?

Informed sources to "Al-Joumhouria" indicated that during the meeting, "there was an open dialogue between the Quintet and Berri. Everyone emphasized the need to separate the constitutional and security deadlines in the South. "

Additionally, the source said: "The country can no longer tolerate a vacancy in Baabda Palace while the region is heading towards agreements, and Lebanon's presence cannot be compromised in these agreements."

According to the sources, Berri informed the ambassadors about his steps, and they responded that they were in the atmosphere and that more precise practical steps were needed to hold consecutive election sessions.

Quoting the ambassadors, the sources emphasized that "they had no names when Berri inquired about the information circulating regarding names, rejecting some and accepting others. They denied this and confirmed that they have moved beyond that stage, focusing on the specifications as the upper limit while waiting for the Lebanese to meet them halfway."

In confirmation of a series of previously rumored scenarios, sources close to one of the Quintet ambassadors told "Al-Joumhouria" that Tuesday's collective visit to Berri was the first and last collectively.

Several individual meetings will be held later to coordinate the movement. The meeting with the Speaker of Parliament was on Tuesday, not in his capacity as head of the "Amal" movement, but in his constitutional position.

The sources pointed out that some ambassadors do not visit some party leaders for reasons related to placing some of them on the sanctions list, and some ambassadors have not previously made similar visits to some of them for various other reasons.

The sources have confirmed that the next step has not been decided yet. However, ambassadors are certainly awaiting new instructions from their governments.

Current efforts are likely focused on the necessity of holding a higher-level meeting based on the outcomes of Tuesday's meeting and the accompanying mission of the Qatari envoy, Abu Fahd, who has been in Beirut since last week.

This includes undisclosed secret meetings, in addition to the results of the two visits made by the French presidential envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to Riyadh and Doha.

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