The phrase used by the spokeswoman of the French Foreign Ministry in response to the comment of Saad Hariri and his party, was not a coincidence. She used the phrase “retrait de la vie politique”, which means his withdrawal from political life, rather than using the word “suspension” which Hariri used.
According to diplomatic sources there wasn’t any error in translation, as many in Quai d’Orsay are fluent in the Arabic language, which means that Hariri in the eyes of France has withdrew from political life and didn’t suspend it.
It was also remarkable that the French Foreign Ministry stressed that Hariri’s withdrawal would not affect the parliamentary elections.
Sawt Beirut International (SBI) learned that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who will visit Beirut in early February, will stress this point specifically in the sense of refusing to link Hariri’s absence to the elections and rejecting the missing Sunni pact argument.
In this context, diplomatic sources also revealed that Berri and Jumblatt had told the French that Hariri’s withdrawal would disrupt the elections, and that they would prefer not to hold the Parliamentary elections amid Hariri’s absence.
The same sources revealed, that the French tried with the Saudis to work on restoring communication between the Kingdom and Hariri and the possibility of supporting him in the elections. The Saudi’s answer was clear that Hariri must pledge, if he wins, with the majority, that he will form a government that does not include parties from March 8 and the allies of Hezbollah. He also has to pledge to work on implementing the international resolutions that provide for the disarmament of Hezbollah, to adopt the investigations of Judge Tarek Bitar, to work on the reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and to pledge to establish a new political system.
These points were mentioned in the paper that the Kuwaiti Minister of Foreign Affairs carried to Lebanon, and there was consensus on it between the Gulf states, the Arab countries, America and France, but Hariri refused to pledge these points, and decided to withdraw from political life with the Sunni sect, which many countries considered as blackmail that they would not accept.