After the belief that prevailed among some Lebanese political circles, justified in the media, regarding a French opportunity given during this August to Lebanese officials to exempt them from serious discussions to elect a president and save their country, French diplomatic sources deny this hypothesis to “Sawt Beirut International”. They even state that the creation of this atmosphere is of Lebanese making, and that France, from now until its special envoy returns to resolve the Lebanese crisis, Jean-Yves Le Drian, welcomes any internal Lebanese effort to make progress on the presidential file, and the French did not ask the Lebanese to give themselves any free time. In the end, this responsibility is an internal Lebanese matter.
The sources clarified that Le Drian will return to Lebanon at the beginning of September, about a month from now. In his anticipated move and through his statement about his latest mission in Beirut, he attempted to change the approach he had been adopting to solve the presidential crisis. Thus, the equation now stands as follows:
Before searching for a presidential candidate, it is assumed that efforts should be made to implement reforms and save the economy through crucial steps for Lebanon and the reform plan agreed upon by all parties. Then, the consideration of the individual who should assume the presidency, capable of executing the economic “roadmap,” comes into play. Therefore, all Lebanese parties are invited to the dialogue and meeting called for by Le Drian. The sources revealed that Le Drian has not yet decided on the format of the meeting between the Lebanese parties. It could be an extensive gathering for all, or it may continue as a bilateral dialogue between him and everyone involved.
The sources also revealed that the meeting, in whatever form it takes, will not be immediate at the beginning of September. Instead, Le Drian will visit Lebanon multiple times during September to lay the groundwork for discussions, meetings, or the format of the meeting. It won’t be clear from his first visit in September; it will take time to crystallize. Initially, he will engage in bilateral discussions with each party to coordinate the desired meeting.
The sources also stated that Le Drian is not waiting for answers to carry out his anticipated mission. The responsibility lies with those involved to find a president and start the rescue process. Ultimately, the solution is Lebanese, and France is offering its services to facilitate reaching a consensus candidate. It is an offer of services through Le Drian’s well-known expertise and competence, to act as an intermediary between the parties. France wants to emphasize that the choice is Lebanese, and they are present to assist and mature a consensus solution. It should be noted that the responsibility does not rest with France, Saudi Arabia, or any external party; it lies with the members of parliament to shoulder their responsibilities, with the understanding of the French about the political situation governing Lebanon.
Therefore, the sources indicate that Le Drian’s expected move should address two questions: What should the new president do? And what are the qualifications required for this president to fulfill the mission of rescue? It is an approach in a new way, focusing on the roadmap first and then identifying the person who possesses the qualities to implement it. All of this will be done with the support of the Quintet Committee for the French role.