| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Diplomatic sources: Concern about French cooperation indulgent with Iran, regarding Lebanon

Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s first visit after his government gained confidence to France, is marred with a remarkable paradox, as it was, according to custom, to be to Riyadh, due to its Arab and international value, and its historical symbolism. But this door will not be open to the official Lebanon, unless it makes a real and fundamental change, and where it is still paying the price for its unbalanced foreign policy, which is affected by the decline of the state’s authority at the internal level.

French diplomatic sources reveal that on the impact of the visit, discussions will focus on the Lebanese government’s priorities, and the steps that should be taken, to get Lebanon out of its economic and social crisis, and the French coordination with Lebanon to keep pace with these steps.

Meanwhile, well-informed diplomatic sources confirm that France is very strict in dealing with the Lebanese file, including the government’s performance and the need for it to comply with the road map set by the French initiative, and which was supported by the international community, even if France was unable to implement it, in the forming of the government and its specifications. But it wants to put pressure on the government as long as it has been formed, to make it a pillar of its work. This will be done, in parallel with the French-American re-engagement, and the desire to continue cooperation, after the tension in relations in light of Australia’s nuclear submarine crisis.  As France does not want to slip into international isolation, so it reactivated its interests, starting with the Lebanese file.

Still, the sources express concern about the idea of France indulging more in direct cooperation with Iran on Lebanon, and keeping pace with its situation. And Lebanon, which is only an international priority for the French, and after communication between Paris and Tehran for forming a government, there are indications of continuing this communication to arrange the Lebanese situation, and sharing interests, in light of the ambiguity in the image of American policy in the region and its desire to withdraw from some files. Therefore, Paris is interested in achieving the terms of its initiative in economic matters, provided that any lack of cooperation from the government or Parliament, will expose those responsible for obstruction, to European sanctions, which remain a hanging sword.

France has overcome the failure of its initiative to form the government, the sources confirm, and which resulted only, from its contacts with Iran, and that it basically did not want all this political and politicized team, and is now looking at two issues: The first is that Lebanon stay away from taking Foreign political stances that might harm it and harm his interests, and the second: that the House of Representatives vote on laws that achieve real reforms and within certain standards, which the Europeans and Americans reported to the officials. So that if Lebanon tries to escape from these standards, it will reach a stage more dangerous than “the current hell,” and will not receive any international aid.

According to the International Monetary Fund officials, the latest proposal for a “capital control” law, was bad, as it seems that it included a circumvention of what the international community wants, and sought to secure the personal representatives’ interests, from the banking structure.

And Lebanon, according to the sources, will auto- handle its problem, provided that France will help and accompany it, and not the Iranians, who have no access to the International Monetary Fund. But in other political matters, there is concern about Iran’s constant endeavor to continue keeping Lebanon as a negotiation card with the United States, and control its decision.