| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Lebanon awaits Le Drian’s visit to search for a ‘third presidential option’

Lebanese political circles are awaiting a visit by the French envoy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is expected to arrive in Beirut next week, to meet with political forces and restore momentum to the presidential elections.

Le Drian will arrive in Beirut after his participation in a meeting in Doha held Monday by the five-member committee of countries concerned with following up on the presidential crisis in Lebanon, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The committee includes representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United States, France, Qatar and Egypt.

The advisor to the General Secretariat of the Saudi Council of Ministers, Nizar bin Suleiman Al-Aloula, met with Le Drian on Tuesday in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

It added that the meeting reviewed the bilateral relations between the Kingdom and France, and the latest developments in Lebanon.

Le Drian’s visit to Lebanon falls within an attempt to hold a dialogue table that would bring together representatives of the political forces, amid a severe internal crisis over the election of a president.

While the Hezbollah and Amal Movement are still insisting on supporting former Minister Sleiman Franjieh for the presidency, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) is calling from removing Franjieh’s name from the list of potential candidates.

While FPM sources hinted at the party’s willingness to participate in the dialogue, the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, said he was surprised at the call for dialogue “by those obstructing the presidential elections.”

“Dialogue that is proposed by the defiance team is a sort of distraction and an attempt to deprive the Lebanese of the opportunity to elect the president, which was almost achieved in the session of June 14…” Geagea said.

The head of the media and communication body in the LF, Charles Jabbour, said that the party has informed Le Drian that it would not participate in the dialogue.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat