What are Le Drian's political and security proposals for Lebanon?
French Special Presidential Envoy for Lebanon Jean-Yves Le Drian, who arrived in Beirut overnight, met Tuesday in Riyadh with Saudi Royal Court adviser Nizar al-Aloula.
French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille said the meeting was “fruitful” and that France and Saudi Arabia are “working hand in hand to ensure Lebanon's stability and security and the speedy holding of the Lebanese presidential election.”
Annahar newspaper meanwhile quoted French diplomatic sources as saying that Le Drian is carrying “a political message and a security message” to Lebanon.
The political message entails two proposals for holding the presidential election as soon as possible.
“The first proposal calls for holding a conference in Doha similar to the previous Doha conference in an attempt to secure consensus among Lebanese players over a candidate who would be elected consensually,” the sources said.
“The second proposal would be for the five-nation group on Lebanon to ask Speaker Nabih Berri to launch an electoral session for electing a president from the proposed candidates while keeping the electoral rounds open until the election of a president,” the sources added.
French sources meanwhile told al-Liwaa newspaper that Le Drian will discuss with Hezbollah’s top MP Mohammad Raad “the name of an acceptable presidential candidate, because it is not possible to stay without a president for a long time.”
Senior Shiite Duo sources meanwhile told the daily that Le Drian is “carrying two drafts.”
“The first is a modified and amended version of his first Franjieh-Salam initiative while the second is a totally new initiative that is based on a proposing a third candidate or resorting to open-ended sessions to agree on any choice that the conferees might agree on,” the sources added.
Informed sources meanwhile told ad-Diyar newspaper that Le Drian might carry an “American-Israeli proposal” to Hezbollah, Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The proposal calls for “Hezbollah’s withdrawal from the area south of the Litani River, which is considered the operations zone of Resolution 1701,” the sources said.
And as some sources informed on the French stance said that Le Drian might propose to Hezbollah a bargain based on withdrawing from the area south of the Litani River in return for backing Suleiman Franjieh’s election as president, other sources told ad-Diyar that such a scenario is “totally out of the question for Hezbollah.”