| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Mikati heads to the Elysee Palace, Macron seeks improving Lebanese-Arab ties

Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s first overseas visit will be in France, and this is reasonable since the cabinet’s major godfather was Emmanuel Macron. This visit has a moral and political aspect, as it is a natural interpretation of direct French support for the Mikati government, which Mikati hopes will be its first initiative to assist the government on multiple fronts, the first of which is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund, which French sources believe will be difficult.

The French also believe that, due to its short tenure, the current government will be unable to complete the final agreement with the IMF, but that it will be established through negotiations, which must be preceded by a clear program and significant reforms in public sectors such as electricity, banking, and the judiciary.
The focus of Macron and Mikati’s conversations is likely to shift from here. This will feature a lunch given by the French President for his guests on two key topics: reforms and parliamentary elections, which France insists on conducting on time and backs the European plan to deploy an international mission to Lebanon to ensure fair and safe elections. According to sources, President Mikati will attempt to resume the CEDRE negotiations, provided that the authorized monies have already been decided upon; nevertheless, this file will also need the implementation of reforms, which were a significant cause for CEDRE’s suspension.

Despite France’s and Europe’s desire to assist Lebanon, Elysee sources believe that any foreign aid will be ineffective and unsuccessful unless it is supplemented by Arab aid, particularly Gulf funds. According to sources, Macron would strive to repair Lebanese-Arab ties and persuade Gulf nations, notably Saudi Arabia, to give the Mikati government a chance in order to provide the bare minimum of support to save Lebanon.

  • Sawt Beirut International