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Lebanon: Hariri Does Not Reject Communication with Bassil

Lebanon: Hariri Does Not Reject Communication with Bassil

Wednesday, 7 April, 2021 - 09:15
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri as he arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President Emmanuel Macron is planning along with his aides to help with the formation of a new government in Lebanon based on an initiative he announced last year, a well-informed political source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The source said that Macron will come up with proposals to Lebanese officials to overcome the obstacles hindering the cabinet formation process.

The political figure also noted that France has decided to abandon its mediation for a meeting between Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), former Minister Gebran Bassil, at least for the near future.

He added that Hariri had not declared his objection to meet with Bassil, although the FPM chief has spared no effort to attack the premier-designate through political and media campaigns.

The same source revealed that Bassil, who is President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law, had been invited to Paris to meet with French officials - in charge of dealing with the Lebanese crisis - without specifying whether the visit would include talks with Macron.

He noted that Bassil was considering making a short visit to the French capital, especially after warnings from French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that Europe was considering sanctions on Lebanese figures who obstruct the formation of a new government.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is expected to visit Beirut on Wednesday for talks with Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Hariri and Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai, in addition to other politicians, including the head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP), Walid Jumblatt, and Marada Movement chief Sleiman Franjieh.

Arab diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Shoukry, on his second visit to Beirut, would renew his call on Lebanese politicians to distance their country from political tension and regional wars, and grab the opportunity to gradually bring Lebanon out of its economic and financial crisis in line with the French initiative.

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