Bou Habib: Lebanon to respond next week to French proposal


Lebanon will respond next week to a French proposal for halting the Israel-Hezbollah cross-border clashes, caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said on Monday.

“The discussions tackled the response to the French proposal and we are preparing the letter on which we have agreed and the points that will be in it. God willing, the French will have the response next week,” Bou Habib added, after meeting caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati at the Grand Serail.

“Our stance is known and we want a full and comprehensive implementation of Resolution 1701 that would include Shebaa (Farms) and Kfarshouba (Hills),” Bou Habib said.

He added: “We welcome the French role and the French have submitted these ideas because the care about Lebanon and Lebanon’s safety.”

France’s proposal would involve Hezbollah withdrawing its forces 10 kilometers from the border, a Lebanese government official told The Associated Press.

Lebanon is still studying the proposal, and Hezbollah officials have indicated they are willing to consider it, but both government and Hezbollah officials have said there would be no agreement on the border before there is a cease-fire in Gaza.

Since October 8, Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged near-daily fire. At least 280 people have been killed on the Lebanese side since fighting erupted, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 44 civilians. On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed according to the Israeli army.

The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border and Israel has repeatedly warned that it might use bigger force against Hezbollah to secure its residents' return.

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