French Envoy Discusses Presidential Crisis with Lebanese Officials

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The director of the department of the Middle East and North Africa at the French Foreign Ministry kicked off his meetings with Lebanese officials on Monday to resolve the presidential deadlock.

Jean-François Girault, who arrived in Beirut on Sunday, first met with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil at Bustros Palace.

He then headed to the Grand Serail for talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

“France does not have a candidate and does not veto anyone,” said Girault.

Paris “backs the state … It is up to the Lebanese to choose a head of state without foreign intervention,” he added.

Later on Monday, Girault held talks with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab, in the presence of French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli and the LF's foreign relations officer Pierre Abou Assi.

“The meeting tackled the regional issues, especially Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and the French guest expressed France's commitment to Lebanon's sovereignty, independence and freedom... and to helping the country in all fields,” Geagea's press office said in a statement.

Girault reassured Geagea that Paris has pressed on with the issue of delivering the Saudi-purchased arms to the Lebanese army, noting that “only a few logistic steps remain.”

He also told the LF leader that “the Lebanese presidency is a domestic Lebanese affair” and that “France will do everything in its capacity to facilitate this juncture, without interfering in the names and candidates.”

Girault later held talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat in Clemenceau.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador Paoli, Jumblat's son Taimur and MPs Henri Helou and Ghazi Aridi.

Talks tackled “the current political developments in Lebanon and the region,” state-run National News Agency said.

Jumblat later threw a dinner banquet in honor of the French guests, NNA added.

The envoy's mission is to persuade the rival Lebanese officials to swiftly elect a president.

His visit will include talks with Lebanese officials from across the political spectrum, including a Hizbullah representative.

Lebanon has been without a head of state since President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended in May.

The rival MPs have been unable to elect a successor over their differences on a compromise candidate.

Another top European envoy, Federica Mogherini, is expected to visit Beirut on Tuesday.

Mogherini serves as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Comments 3
Missing humble 08 December 2014, 10:45

When he meets the Caporal he should look into his eyes and see the effects of high dosage neuroleptics.

Thumb freedomarch 08 December 2014, 14:03

Nono do not let him stare for too long. He might be charmed by such ever moving hypnotic pupils with distinctive aroma of a combination of medications and alcohol drank every day forget all problems caused by his suns in law as well as Kanaan and Raad.

Missing humble 08 December 2014, 15:58

Do not forget Simon and Co.
He was living in France with the French Smic, but now he has a somptuous villa in Ehmej...
"Min ayna laka haza"
...It falls from Heaven like rain on all the inner circle and the boss...