France Asked Hezbollah To Help Ease Bassil’s Position


French envoy Patrick Durel reportedly asked to ease the strained position of his ally, MP , encouraging him to facilitate the government formation mission of PM-designate , Al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.

The newspaper said that the internal circles close to the PM-designate encourage a reconciliation between Bassil and Hariri.

However, according to Al-Joumhouria Hariri seems to have an adverse position, supported by external parties related to the US sanctions against Bassil.

Replying to the French request, Al-Joumhouria reported that indicated that efforts are underway in a bid to persuade “Bassil and Hariri” to expedite the formation process.

Yet, also said it had “no knowledge of what Hariri was doing.”

also emphasized to “those counting on the U.S. sanctions to weaken Bassil,” that their efforts will go in vain.

“Your request draws attention to a very important issue. It is delusional to believe that the sanctions imposed on Bassil have weakened, or may weaken, him,” the daily reported quoting Hezbollah’s reply to the French request. “Pressuring him in this case will make his position more rigid.”

This comes after the imposed sanctions on Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of President and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, for corruption and ties with Hezbollah.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has previously stated that the systemic corruption in ’s political system “exemplified by Bassil” has helped to erode the foundation of an effective government.

The US sanctions come as , the former colonial power, is pressing ’s political leaders to rapidly form a new government to carry out urgent reforms as part of an initiative launched by French President .

While the US appears to be supporting Macron’s initiative to rescue from a series of multiple crises threatening its fate, the two countries are clearly poles apart over dealing with Hezbollah.

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