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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna Warns of Dangerous Tensions on Lebanese-Israeli Border

Beirut, December 18, 2023 (Xinhua) French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna warned this evening (Monday) that the high level of tension on both sides of the Lebanese-Israeli border is “very dangerous,” and called for “avoiding the risk of expanding war.”

Colonna said in a press conference at her country’s embassy in Beirut, “This is the second visit to Lebanon since last October 7 and comes to avoid the risk of expanding the war, which is still very high,” after separate meetings with both the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, and the Prime Minister of the caretaker government, Najib Mikati. And the Commander of the United Nations Forces operating in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL), Major General Aroldo Lazaro.

She continued, “It is the responsibility of the parties to work to avoid the ignition of the region, which, if it happens, will not benefit anyone and will only increase the risks and distance everyone from security and peace.”

She added, “The apparent high level of tension on both sides of the Blue Line is very dangerous, and this was confirmed to me by the UNIFIL Commander, as well as the soldiers of the French battalion, whose work I salute.”

She went on to say, “We came to tell everyone that diplomacy is useful in this atmosphere, not military action, and I told the Lebanese officials that if Lebanon is plunged into war, it will not recover, and the situation is very dangerous.”

The French Minister said, “I bring a message to those outside Lebanon who are waiting to take advantage of the catastrophic situation in Gaza to increase tension. I mean Iran and all its tools in Iraq and Syria, and also what the Houthis are doing in the Red Sea. This is a big mistake and a very dangerous matter, and the escalation must be stopped.”

She stressed that “Lebanon is a friendly country and dear to the heart of France, which will spare no effort to maintain stability there. This is done through the implementation of Resolution 1701 for the benefit of everyone, and this affects the improvement of the situation on the ground.”

Resolution 1701 was issued in August 2006, and called for a cessation of hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from southern Lebanon, and the deployment of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL forces.

The border between Lebanon and Israel has witnessed escalating tension and a limited military confrontation between the Lebanese Hezbollah and armed factions on the one hand, and the Israeli army on the other hand, since the outbreak of war between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel in the Gaza Strip on the seventh of last October.

The French Minister said in this context, “I was in Israel yesterday to say that France does not forget the horrific and barbaric events that happened on October 7…but I also said that Israel must respect international humanitarian law and do everything in its power to protect civilians in Gaza.” .

She continued, “I repeated what France has been saying for weeks, that there is a lot of death in Gaza, and the matter cannot continue like this.”

She pointed out that “France immediately calls for a sustainable humanitarian truce that enables a humanitarian ceasefire to be achieved with the liberation of all prisoners and the large introduction of aid into Gaza and its distribution there.”

Colonna considered that “the two-state solution is the most appropriate solution to the crisis, and France has never forgotten this matter. There will be no peace without security, no security without peace, no security, and no peace without a political solution, and there will be no peace without a Palestinian state.”

2023-12-19 03:27:14
#French #Foreign #Minister #calls #avoiding #expansion #war #borders #Lebanon #Israel #AlShaab #Daily

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