| 1 February 2023, Wednesday |

French capital sources: Gulf initiative is French-Saudi statement’s core.

The Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah’s visit to Beirut, at the end of last week, is still the focus of domestic and international attention, especially since it came at a critical time when Lebanon, due to some of its politicians, has become an orphan in its Arab surroundings, and far from the international community. This visit constitutes a Gulf breach towards Lebanon, aspiring to restore confidence between it and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, through its approval of proposals for the initiative entrusted to the State of Kuwait by the Gulf countries and with European-American approval, has touched directly the crisis, through approaching the proposed items, which may have opened a window for Lebanon to get out of its impasse and re-correct its Arab and international relationship, but it seems that the Lebanese response has not yet matured to what was proposed, knowing that Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou-habib, will visit Kuwait next Saturday to participate in the international conference of Arab foreign ministers, and he is scheduled to have the Lebanese side answers to the Arabis proposals.

Simultaneously, the French-Arab coordination is still active, in order to discuss the Lebanese internal situation, and in this context, sources in the French capital familiar with the French stance, confirm that the Kuwaiti minister’s visit to Lebanon was expected and was discussed during the crisis of Minister Georges Kordahi and its aftermath, where there was talk about the possibility of Qatar’s foreign minister visiting Lebanon, but it seems that within the agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Kuwait was assigned for this task. Sources following up the French stance, consider that the Kuwaiti minister’s talks in Beirut came in light of the successive Lebanese developments and the regional situation in general.

Regarding whether it is coordinated with the French side, the sources confirm that it is the core of a Gulf – Arab – international initiative, which was mentioned in the French-Saudi statement, that forms its basis.This confirms that Paris is as aware as Washington of this initiative, as sources in the French capital, refer to the meeting that will be held today, Wednesday, between US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister, which will address the terms of the initiative, which it takes for granted, because when the international support group of ambassadors of the major countries is appointed, and when it comes to the Taif Agreement and Security Council resolutions, all of this are self-evident, but the difficulty lies Always in the application

The sources praise the Kuwaiti minister’s diplomacy and accuracy in choosing his words and phrases, so as not to embarrass anyone, but they indicate the importance of the enthusiasm he showed for the return of Lebanon, which can only live under Arab and international legitimacy, pointing out that its geopolitical position, structure, history, economy and even the state of collapse that it is suffering, are related to it.

The sources indicate that what the initiative demands, is to organize a return to Arab and international legitimacy, as thye issue is up to Lebanese political powers, and they have to choose whether they want to save their country or not.

Political sources in the French capital stress that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, will be linked to the choice of the Lebanese political powers, because those countries secure the Fund, and it has always been the Oxygen source for Lebanon, especially since there was an idea that a French-Saudi-Emirati fund for humanitarian work would be financed for Lebanon, but despite this oxygen, according to the sources, there were no integrated rescue plans without being linked to the restoration of the Lebanese state’s sovereignty and its return to Arab and international legitimacy.

The sources indicate that although the files are intertwined with each other, some may want to use Lebanon as a bargaining card, but the files each have their own peculiarities and the Lebanese file as well.

It also believe that “Hezbollah” will not easily accept the restoration of the Lebanese state, but it is not in a situation that allows it to have the final word. The sources point out that its return to the Council of Ministers, is a proof, indicating that all the current understandings do not only include Arab and international, but also Russia and China, where all of them do not want Lebanon to return to be the scene of endless conflicts, or the scene of terrorism or the export of refugees, which means that there is an intertwining of interests in this issue, and “Hezbollah” must choose, although the matter is not easy for it, but the sources say: “If we start on the basis of the last dialogue table by former President Michel Suleiman on the issue of defense strategy, and the start of restoring the army to its full authority in the matter of peace and war, there may be gradually encouraging beginnings that reassure everyone and put them before their responsibilities, but if Hezbollah wants to adopt other different options, It could drag Lebanon into more difficult situations and huge challenges.”

The sources confirm that the French-Saudi contacts regarding Lebanon are continous, and so is the coordination between them, and currently there are developments related to Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s decision and the Kuwaiti initiative.

The sources conclude: “When we hear the Iranian stance on Yemen and what is happening regarding the United Arab Emirates, we understand very well that there are those who want to spread sabotage to the region as a whole, and I think that releasing Lebanon is a very difficult issue, but despite all that, trying is a neccessity.”

Source : Sawt Beirut International

  • Sawt Beirut International