Amid ongoing protests, peaceful demonstrations, and roadblocks, Head of North Africa and Middle East Department at the French Foreign Ministry, Christophe Farnaud, held meetings with Lebanese top officials. He tackled the current situation and the latest developments in efforts to look into the manner through which Lebanon can “end the crisis,” by assisting officials with the formation of Lebanon’s new cabinet.
During these meetings, President Michel Aoun assured the French delegation that ongoing discussions to counter corruption are currently underway and that these discussions have persisted in the right direction – towards reforms. He further assured that the demands and slogans of protesters, as well as their concerns, all form integral parts of his current efforts to combat corrupt officials.
In his meeting with the French envoy, President Aoun said that he will be continuing to carry out all the necessary calls in order to complete the required Parliamentary consultations to designate a new Prime Minister.
He went on to stress that this has become increasingly difficult amidst the ongoing economic and financial crisis this revolution has brought upon Lebanon, as well as the influx of over 1.5 million Syrian refugees into Lebanon (ok?).
From his side, Interim Prime Minister Saad Hariri welcomed the French delegation similarly, whereby the delegation expressed French President Emmanuel Macron’s concerns over the safety of the Lebanese civilians and stressed his recommendation to form a new government at the soonest. This visit is indeed acting as a purely consultative one at this stage.
The French delegation was lastly welcomed by Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri. The delegation expressed that France sees a need to find a solution to this ongoing revolution as soon as possible, adding that the French government is willing to lend its support in order to see this through (funny how we wanted independence from these people).
The delegation also discussed Lebanon’s “fuel” conflict with TOTAL, and other aspects pertaining to economic and social affairs.
Upon meeting with the interim Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Gebran Bassil, the delegation conveyed the concern of the French President for the safety and well-being of Lebanon and its people. France is concerned that this revolution turns into violence or escalates into a larger and more complex situation, which jeopardizes Lebanon’s safety.
Bassil, on his end, informed the French delegation that it is pivotal for no “foreign intervention” to take place in the formation of Lebanon’s Cabinet at this stage – in order for foreign powers not to take advantage of Lebanon’s current situation for their own benefits.
Bassil went on to insist that the formation of a new Cabinet is strictly an internal matter, which needs to be resolved by Lebanese officials solely, and that in order for the new Cabinet to lead the Lebanese people into a more developed and prosperous new era post-revolution.
At this controversial stage in the revolution, one can only hope that Lebanese people’s voices will not be washed away by foreign powers’ efforts to manipulate Lebanon during these times. While France is seen as a “friendly nation,” other nations might not be the friends Lebanon needs right now.