French Embassy Denies Report Paoli Exempted from Postإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The French embassy in Beirut denied Saturday that Paris has decided to end the service of its ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli, stressing that the envoy “enjoys the full confidence of the French authorities.”
“Contrary to the claims of al-Akhbar newspaper, the ambassador is performing his mission in a non-partisan approach,” the embassy said in a statement.
“France is keen, primarily through its ambassador to Beirut, to communicate with all Lebanese and enhance dialogue and understanding between them,” the embassy added.
It said “the only French bias is towards supporting Lebanon and its institutions.”
The embassy also noted that “contrary to repeated allegations by this newspaper, the French embassy in Lebanon's work is focused on French-Lebanese ties, and it is not performing any political or security actions in Syria.”
Earlier, al-Akhbar reported that Paoli will be relieved of his duties “soon”.
It said the step follows a similar one by U.S. President Barack Obama, who allegedly nominated Washington's envoy to Beirut, veteran diplomat David Hale, as ambassador to Pakistan.
“Informed sources” refused in remarks to al-Akhbar to comment on the possible motives.
The newspaper pointed out that the failure by Lebanese rivals to elect a new head of state would prevent Paris and Washington from appointing two new ambassadors to Lebanon.
It said such a step would compel the two countries to name chargés d'affaires for their embassies in Beirut until it is possible to appoint new ambassadors.
Hale had previously served as the top U.S. diplomat in Jordan and was special envoy for Middle East peace under Obama.