Top French diplomat arrives in Lebanon in attempt to broker a halt to Hezbollah-Israel clashes


BEIRUT (AP) — French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné arrived in Lebanon Sunday as part of diplomatic attempts to broker a deescalation in the conflict on the Lebanon-Israel border.

Séjourné was set to meet with United Nations peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon and with Lebanon’s parliament speaker, army chief, foreign minister and caretaker prime minister.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has exchanged strikes near-daily with Israeli forces in the border region — and sometimes beyond — for almost seven months against the backdrop of Israel’s war against Hezbollah ally Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli strikes have killed more than 350 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters with Hezbollah and allied groups but also including more than 50 civilians. Strikes by Hezbollah have killed 10 civilians and 12 soldiers in Israel.

A French diplomatic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists said the purpose of Séjourné’s visit was to convey France’s “fears of a war on Lebanon” and to submit an amendment to a proposal Paris had previously presented to Lebanon for a diplomatic resolution to the border conflict.

Western diplomats have brought forward a series of proposals for a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. Most of those would hinge on Hezbollah moving its forces several kilometers from the border, a beefed-up Lebanese army presence and negotiations for Israeli forces to withdraw from disputed points along the border where Lebanon says Israel has been occupying small patches of Lebanese territory since it withdrew from the rest of south Lebanon in 2000.

The previous French proposal would have involved Hezbollah withdrawing its forces 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border.

Hezbollah has signaled willingness to entertain the proposals but has said there will be no deal in Lebanon before there is a cease-fire in Gaza.

Brought to you by

Follow Us



Recent Posts

Related Posts: