Paris avoids interfering in the Lebanese local affairs and refuses to engage in the bazaar of names suggested to head the next cabinet. However, France refuses to remain passive in the face of Lebanon’s current political and economic crisis.
“Christophe Farnaud, head of North Africa and Middle East department at the French foreign ministry should arrive to Beirut soon with a mission to support Lebanon at the economic and financial level,” official French sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.
The sources stressed the need to “differentiate” between the French policy and the US policy in Lebanon.
“Paris wants to support Beirut in filling the current void,” they said, adding that France hopes that Lebanese officials agree to form a government capable to meet the popular demands and to issue laws that are necessary for implementing economic reforms and the pledges taken at the CEDRE conference held last April in Paris.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned last October 29 in response to popular protests against the political class.
The cabinet remains in place in a caretaker capacity amid stalled efforts to form a new one.
Paris considers that the resignation of Hariri has pushed the crisis to further aggravation.
In short, Paris wants to build a safety net for Lebanon with a focus on quickly filling the governmental void and on implementing the delayed economic reforms and meeting the legitimate demands of the street.
Other sources said that the French envoy aims to “comfort Hezbollah” that no plot was planned against its existence in Lebanon.
“There are no conspiracies to weaken or get rid of the party,” the source said.
The sources said that all parties should coordinate to face the current crisis, which threatens to remove the entire monetary and financial system.
“The envoy has a mission to bridge the gap and contradictory positions among Lebanese parties with hopes to exist the current crisis,” the source added.