Written by Heidi Sabry:
Published on: Tuesday, February 13, 2024 – 7:15 PM | Last updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2024 – 7:15 PM
Ambassador Ahmed Abu Zeid, the official spokesman and Director of the Public Diplomacy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated that Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, received Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French presidential envoy to Lebanon.
At the beginning of the meeting, Minister Shukri was keen to praise the recent movements of the ambassadors of the five-party group, which includes Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States, and their meeting with the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, and the resulting confirmation that the committee’s goal is to encourage the Lebanese parties to dialogue and engage in its related responsibilities.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also stressed the importance of the role played by the Group of Five with regard to seeking to resolve the presidential vacancy crisis in Lebanon, in light of it being an international framework aimed at helping the Lebanese reach a solution to their political crises according to their own will.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman added that Minister Shukri also reviewed Egypt’s position based on encouraging the Lebanese parties to choose the President of the Republic, then forming a government capable of carrying out its tasks, and Egypt’s welcome of the steps to renew the Commander of the Lebanese Army, the Commander of the Internal Security Forces, and appoint a Chief of Staff of the Army. The Foreign Minister also stressed the need to preserve Lebanon’s constitutional framework.
Abu Zeid added that the Minister of Foreign Affairs stressed Egypt’s assessment that the only security solution to the region’s problems is considered a deficient vision, as there must be a comprehensive solution that begins with an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The continuation of the situation in the Gaza Strip undoubtedly has consequences on the chances of stability in Lebanon, including the issue of resolving the presidential vacuum, which cannot be resolved before a ceasefire in Gaza.
For his part, the French envoy reviewed his efforts to communicate with the Lebanese parties to resolve the presidential crisis, praising the existing cooperation and coordination with Egypt at all levels in order to contribute to resolving the tense political situation. The French envoy explained that he visited Lebanon four times and met all the important and influential figures, and that in all his meetings he stressed that the responsibility lies with the Lebanese parties to get out of the current state of presidential vacancy, and that the continued state of instability affects the interests of many countries, not just Lebanon. Hence, it must be taken seriously enough to search for solutions that contribute to getting out of the current stalemate.
Ambassador Abu Zeid added that the two sides also touched on the dangerous developments taking place in the Gaza Strip, which are casting a shadow on the Lebanese arena and increasing the complexity of the situation. In this context, the efforts made by Egypt to try to achieve calm were reviewed, in addition to France’s efforts and vision in this regard. The French official confirmed that his country considers itself a friend of the Arab countries and a supporter of the Palestinian cause, both on the European arena and at the international level.
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