| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Diplomatic sources: Presidential solution is internal

The question now is, has the French initiative on the presidency of the republic failed? And what are the alternatives in light of a basic point on which all countries interested in the presidential issue agree, which is the need for the Lebanese parties to agree among themselves and on a unifying president, focusing on the fact that the ball is in the Lebanese court and not abroad, which seems not to quarrel over the presidential file.

Senior diplomatic sources told “Sawt Beirut International” that the French initiative has not yet failed, and at the same time it becomes clear to those working in the presidential line that the main solution is internal.

As it is not possible to elect a president without at least acceptable Christian representation, even within certain limits.

In France, matters are still under discussion, but Riyadh does not have a problem, but on conditions: that the future president undertakes the required reforms in full, that the Lebanese commitments towards the Gulf are fully implemented, that there is a need for a president who relieves the Gulf and the Lebanese situation, and that there is no Captagon smuggling to these countries. And to completely stop attacking the Gulf countries. So that if the Gulf states want to return financial support to Lebanon, then this support will not be wasted. Until now, there is no candidate agreed upon internally, and there is a fear that this situation will prolong.

The Americans are on the same wavelength with the Saudis. The success of the French initiative alone, through the French alone, will not be accepted by the Americans, because it does not record a victory for them. Rather, everyone is supposed to contribute to the settlement, from Riyadh to Washington, Qatar and France.

Thus, the election of the president needs the support of the two largest Christian blocs. So far, no candidate has that, and no candidate has the support of either of them. And if a Christian president comes who is not strong enough, this means that the country has entered into a major problem. Even if elected, can he rule? Former President Michel Aoun came up with an internal settlement and was barely able to govern.

All countries tell the Lebanese that they support them and that they must agree on a president. Does the search refer to names other than the head of the Marada Movement, after this international and regional clarity? And all the outsiders are unanimous that he will not impose a president on the Lebanese, and that he prefers a figure who is agreed upon. So, as long as there is no agreement on Franjieh, are other names proposed? Or is it seeking to find great guarantees that would bring Franjieh as president? The outside does not want problems in Lebanon. As long as there is no agreement on Franjieh, what is required is to find a solution, otherwise the wait will be long.

The sources indicate that there is US-Saudi coordination that will be pushed back to the fore in the region, and there is anticipation for its repercussions in Lebanon, especially since the countries’ goal as a result of it is to enhance stability in all files based on the climate imposed by the Saudi-Iranian dialogue.

  • Sawt Beirut International