Le Drian arrives in Beirut for talks with top officials


The French President's Special Envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, arrived Tuesday in Beirut for talks with top officials.

Le Drian will meet with Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said, adding that Berri will respond to a Quintet's statement after meeting Le Drian.

The ambassadors of Egypt, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States had said in a joint statement earlier this month that "Lebanon cannot afford to wait another month" without a president, stressing that consultations were needed to end the current political stalemate.

Al-Akhbar newspaper had reported earlier this week that while in Lebanon Le Drian will also meet with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the Quintet's ambassadors.

The daily said that France is considering sending invitations to hold a dialogue conference in Paris that would gather the Lebanese political forces in order to discuss the presidential file.

Berri reportedly refused the Paris dialogue. "Why (would it be held) in Paris and not in Beirut or in an Arab country," Berri was quoted as asking.

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