Report: Macron told al-Rahi Christian agreement not enough for president election
An agreement among Lebanon’s Christians over a presidential candidate would be an “important” step, but “it is not enough for the election of a president,” French President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly told Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.
“Things in the country require consensus with the political forces,” Macron added, according to al-Akhbar newspaper.
“This might curb the drive of Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil, especially that he was hoping for a change in the French stance that would back the Christian position and reshuffle cards in the Lebanese interior,” the daily said.
Bassil was also hoping that a changed French stance would “push the Hezbollah and Amal Movement duo to back down from (Suleiman) Franjieh’s nomination,” al-Akhbar added.
Informed sources meanwhile told al-Joumhouria daily that Macron was “clear” with the patriarch. “There won’t be a president in Lebanon not enjoying Hezbollah’s consent,” the French leader told the patriarch, the sources said.
Al-Akhbar for its part said that al-Rahi would dispatch delegates to the political forces and that Bkirki is also “awaiting the Vatican to conduct contacts with the foreign forces who have an influence on the Lebanese file, in addition to French talks with Lebanese and foreign forces, especially Saudi Arabia.”
Political sources meanwhile said that “the Vatican has advised al-Rahi not to go far in antagonizing Hezbollah or the Shiite sect” and that Holy See officials stressed that “the presidential file must be discussed with all the Lebanese components.”