France Focuses on Lebanon Security and Stability in 2024 Initiatives

France renews diplomatic efforts in Lebanon, focusing on security, UN Resolution 1701, supporting the Lebanese army, and pushing for presidential elections to maintain regional stability.

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France Focuses on Lebanon Security and Stability in 2024 Initiatives

France Focuses on Lebanon Security and Stability in 2024 Initiatives

France is renewing its diplomatic efforts in Lebanon in 2024, with a focus on enhancing security in the southern region, implementing UN Resolution 1701, supporting the Lebanese army, and pushing for the long-delayed presidential elections, according to reports from Middle East newspapers.

In recent discussions, France, along with Lebanon and Italy, reaffirmed the importance of collective action to prevent escalation along the Lebanon-Israel border in accordance with UN Resolution 1701. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna emphasized the need for both sides to fully implement the resolution, which indicates that no armed factions should be present between Lebanon's Litani River and its border with Israel ("the resolution states that no armed factions should be present between Lebanon's Litani River and its border with Israel").

French President Emmanuel Macron met with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Army Chief Joseph Aoun to discuss tackling the militant group Hezbollah and ending the country's ongoing political stalemate. Macron stressed France's commitment to Lebanon's stability and its willingness to do "everything in its power" to prevent further conflict escalation between Lebanon and Israel.

The discussions also covered France's proposal to end cross-border clashes through the withdrawal of Hezbollah's armed wing from within 10 kilometers of the Israeli border and increased support for the Lebanese army. France, Lebanon, and Italy emphasized their support for the Lebanese Army as the guarantor of national stability and committed to supporting Lebanon's stability and sovereignty.

Why this matters: The French initiatives aim to address the complex security challenges in southern Lebanon and prevent a potential escalation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel. Resolving these issues is critical for maintaining regional stability and avoiding a wider conflict.

During the meetings, Lebanese army commander General Joseph Aoun presented a document requesting general support for the military, including financial, logistical, and medical assistance. It was agreed to form a tripartite monitoring committee to study the army's needs and financing, both for general requirements and additional needs in southern Lebanon.

France is also pushing for the holding of presidential elections in Lebanon, which remains a priority for the country's stability. Prime Minister Mikati asked for President Macron's help in resolving the Syrian refugee issue, and Macron promised to review French policy on the matter within the European Union.

The renewed French diplomatic initiative comes at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following the rejection of a previous proposal by the Lebanese side. The amended initiative now suggests the withdrawal of "specific military capabilities of Hezbollah" from the borders in exchange for Israel halting all military operations and violations in Lebanese airspace.

Key Takeaways

  • France renewing diplomatic efforts in Lebanon in 2024 to enhance security, support army.
  • France, Lebanon, Italy reaffirm implementing UN Resolution 1701 to prevent border escalation.
  • Macron, Mikati, Aoun discuss tackling Hezbollah, ending political stalemate in Lebanon.
  • France proposes Hezbollah withdrawal from border, increased support for Lebanese army.
  • France pushing for Lebanese presidential elections, reviewing Syrian refugee policy.