Report: France 'Asked' Hizbullah to Help Ease Bassil’s Position
French envoy Patrick Durel reportedly asked Hizbullah to ease the strained position of his ally, MP Jebran Bassil, encouraging him to facilitate the government formation mission of PM-designate Saad Hariri, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.
The newspaper said that internal circles close to the PM-designate encourage a rapprochement between Bassil and Hariri. But the PM-designate seems to have an adverse position, supported by external parties related to the US sanctions against Bassil, it said.
Replying to the French request, al-Joumhouria reported that Hizbullah indicated that its efforts are underway in a bid to persuade “Bassil and Hariri” to expedite the formation process. But Hizbullah also said it had “no knowledge of what Hariri was doing,” it quoted reliable sources as saying.
Hizbullah also clarified to “those counting on the U.S. sanctions to weaken Bassil,” that their efforts will go in vain.
“Your request makes us draw attention to a very important issue. It is delusional to believe that the sanctions imposed on Bassil have weakened, or may weaken, him. Pressuring him in this case will make his position more rigid,” the daily reported, quoting Hizbullah’s reply to the French request.