| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Visit by Le Drian… Exploring Pre-Presidential Plan

Newspapers and news websites are filled with analyses discussing the visit of former French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Lebanon and the potential implications it may have on the presidential dossier, especially as it comes after the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to France and his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

According to diplomatic sources, there is nothing new in the Frenchman’s agenda. They state that it is merely a reconnaissance and exploratory visit by Le Drian, during which he will meet with officials and party leaders to gauge their recent positions regarding the upcoming presidential event.
The sources emphasize that the French envoy does not have any new initiatives or proposals. The French side has learned its lesson well after the backlash it faced when it adopted and presented an initiative to elect Sleiman Frangieh, the leader of the Marada Movement, as president. This initiative failed miserably as it came outside the context of the divisions among the Lebanese parties.

The sources indicate that during his meeting with the French president, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was clear in his stance, refraining from getting involved in specific names and leaving the presidential dossier to the Lebanese. He provided some advice to help Lebanon. Macron understood the message and delegated the task to Le Drian, sending him to listen and gather sufficient information about concerns and proposals, especially after the June 14 session that changed the presidential scene in Paris.
According to the sources, France realizes that getting involved in the Lebanese presidential issue is not easy. France is not the only party concerned with the presidential dossier, and it needs to consult with the countries of the Quintet, who have their own perspectives different from Paris, which has not been successful thus far. Macron does not want to lose, therefore he intends to gather as much relevant information as possible before engaging in any discussion or proposing any initiative. Based on Le Drian’s upcoming visit, France will shape its approach to the next phase. However, there is almost unanimous international consensus on ending the presidential vacancy in a way that helps Lebanon recover without further complications. Macron will not take any steps regarding the presidential dossier before receiving sufficient information from Le Drian. He will present the results of Le Drian’s visit to the Quintet countries to develop the necessary solution. This means that there will be no immediate results from the French envoy’s visit to Lebanon in the current stage.

  • Sawt Beirut International