France is Lobbying to Save Lebanon from Economic Collapse

Since Lebanon’s independence from the French Mandate in 1943, Lebanon and France have enjoyed mutually “friendly” relations, with France having had an evident “influence” in Lebanon’s political-administrative system that was initially modeled after the French’s Third Republic. 

France has maintained its position of support to Lebanon in recent decades. It acted as an active member in the creation of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, as well as voting in favor of numerous UN Resolutions regarding Lebanon.

More recently, France has publically said that it will do “everything” to help resolve Lebanon’s “deep crisis.” Diplomatic sources from Paris revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that France is doing just that.

The French Republic has reportedly contacted Iran in order to help Lebanon overcome its stifling economic ordeal.

Funny enough, the diplomatic source revealed that France received a vague answer that “Tehran is reading into the situation” in Lebanon at the moment.

The source indicated that the French diplomatic core “is also in contact with a number of Arab countries in order to persuade them to receive the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.”

These countries haven’t been interested in such a visit as they consider that Lebanese political actors supporting Iran were behind the formation of Lebanon’s new Cabinet.

The source further told the news outlet that France did not halt its efforts to resume talks with Washington in order to help Lebanon overcome its economic crisis.

According to that source: “[…] the American position is complex. While the French position is to adhere to the demands of the demonstrators and the overall assistance to Lebanon, the U.S. sees the popular movement in Lebanon and Iraq as an opportunity to reduce the role of Iran and Hezbollah in the region.”

Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Dr. Nassif Hitti was in talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris last Friday. He received French confirmation that it would assist Lebanon amid its financial crisis.

The French Minister further stressed a need to carry out the required reforms, especially focusing on the electricity and anti-corruption files.

It was understood from the deliberation between the two ministers that Paris does not have a specific road map for resolving the crisis, because the solution is in the hands of the Lebanese themselves. 

Paris believes that the situation in Lebanon “cannot wait any longer” and that it is necessary to accelerate consultations in order to reach a compromised solution that leads to a consensus among Lebanese protestors and the political class.

France has also stressed the importance of Lebanon implementing an economic rescue program in order to apply the decisions of the Cedre Conference, which currently stands impeded by the political instability in the country.

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