Will the pressures of the ambassadors of the “Paris Five” end the vacuum of Lebanon’s presidency?

The ambassadors of the five countries of the United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar are seeking to exert a new round of pressure on the Lebanese leaders to urge them to elect a new president for the republic, after the meeting held by representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs and advisors to the senior leaderships in each of them in Paris on Monday, the sixth of February (February). , Amid betting by the concerned capitals that the steady deterioration of living conditions and the record daily decline in the value of the #Lebanese_pound will prompt the parties to agree on the name of the president.

The tour of the five diplomats with senior Lebanese officials revealed a set of results of the Paris meeting, about which there were many interpretations, speculations and leaks, which left question marks about the extent to which the five countries agreed to develop a plan of action that would end the presidential vacuum that has been going on since October 31.

The diplomatic delegation of the five countries is unified

In the opinion of prominent politicians who talked about “ambiguity” about what the Paris meeting ended with due to the absence of a joint statement on the meeting, that the first impressions that contradicted leaks about disagreements that occurred between the five countries about ways to deal with the Lebanese crisis were that their ambassadors in Beirut visited Together, the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, and the caretaker government, Najib Mikati, then the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Bouhabib.

It is worth mentioning that the Chargé d’Affairs of the Saudi Embassy in Lebanon, Fares Hassan Al-Amoudi, was among the delegation of ambassadors on behalf of Ambassador Walid Bukhari, due to his presence in Riyadh, along with the Ambassadors of France, Anne Griot and the United States, Dorothy Shea, and the Ambassadors of Egypt, Yasser Alawi, and Qatar, Ibrahim Abdel Aziz Al-Sahlawi, on their visits Monday and Wednesday. On the 13th and 15th of February.

What did the five diplomats carry?

What was leaked from the meeting with Berri is that the five diplomats spoke in a firm tone regarding the need to quickly end the presidential vacuum because the situation in the country is getting worse every day, and they stressed that the Lebanese commitment to achieving reforms has not been fulfilled. Parliamentary sources close to Berri quoted him as telling the ambassadors that he had previously called for dialogue, but there were those who rejected it, and that the 11 parliamentary sessions that were held to elect the president turned into a farce (due to the failure of any of the candidates to obtain a sufficient number of votes), stressing that it must He managed to create a climate conducive to electing a president, and reiterated that “we have weeks, not months, because the country can no longer bear it,” recalling the president’s specifications as he defined it, which is that he “collects and does not divide, and that he is open to internal parties and to all countries.” “Independent Arabia” learned that one of the Arab diplomats indicated to Berri, “We are counting on your role in expediting the election of the president and the agreement of the Lebanese parties.” He replied, stressing his commitment to the Taef Agreement and consensus between the Lebanese, and that he did not change his position in this regard.

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After the meeting with Mikati, the latter’s office distributed news that quoted the ambassadors as confirming that the failure to issue a statement on the Paris meeting “is due to the fact that the meetings are open and continuous,” which means that another meeting will be held to evaluate the results of the current round of contacts. It was reported, a few weeks ago, that he might reach a level that would go beyond officials in the foreign ministries or advisors, that is, that the foreign ministers of the five countries would attend him. From the Lebanese officials themselves over the country.

Waving steps and correction from Mikati’s office

They also stressed that achieving the necessary reforms is “the main gateway for international aid and support from the International Monetary Fund,” and that “there is no support for Lebanon except after electing a president who adheres to the reform program and forming a government capable of implementing reforms.” A phrase was mentioned in the news of Mikati’s media office that caused confusion, as it was attributed to the five ambassadors as saying, “Not electing a president will arrange a reconsideration of the entire relationship with Lebanon.” It was soon “corrected” later, as the French ambassador Griot told some of those she met. In other words, it was stated However, the concerned countries will have a “negative stance against those who disrupt the elections.”

The reason for correcting what was leaked by Mikati’s office is that the phrase “reconsidering the relationship with Lebanon” soon found interpretations and analyzes in the political and media circles, to the extent that one of the government advisors said, “Its interpretation is that the five countries will not support Lebanon in international forums if the delay continues to end the vacancy.” Presidential Council and that the country will be left to its fate due to the mistakes its leaders have committed for years.” However, a prominent political source linked to the five countries’ move indicated that there is no need to hint at not helping Lebanon, because this matter has already been happening for more than three years, and depends on reforms, and that most of what The international community provides Lebanon with “humanitarian” aid in some sectors, including sums allocated by the US Congress ($72 million) to support the salaries of the armed forces, which have lost their value due to the decline in the value of the lira, over a period of six months, in addition to the subsidies provided by the French-Saudi Fund in The fields of health and education for some sectors of society, which are granted to associations directly and not to the government.

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As for the correction, which corrected the phrase “reconsidering the relationship with Lebanon” with the phrase “the negative position against the impediments to the election of the president” in the information that was distributed by Mikati’s media office, it in turn sparked speculation by some media professionals and politicians on social media that lists of deputies’ names would be prepared against whom action would be taken. Type of refusal to obtain a European “Schengen” visa and a visit visa to America, or withdrawing it from those who obtained it.

Discreet about the steps, but “the pressure is strong.”

However, a ministerial source kept silent about the measures the five ambassadors had hinted at, telling “The Independent Arabia” that they did not say anything about withholding visas, “but it can be said that they are exerting strong pressure to quickly elect a new president, and all that can be disclosed is that they will have a negative attitude towards those they accuse.” disrupt the presidential elections.

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While the five diplomats repeated the same position during their meeting with Minister Bouhabib, a ministerial source was asked: If it was understood that they would meet Berri as the speaker of the parliament responsible for electing the president, then what is the purpose of the meeting of representatives of these countries with Mikati and Minister Bouhabib, especially since they are not members of Parliament? He replied, “It is most likely that the five countries want to deliver the message in an official form, so that they can convey it to all political parties. Miqati has contacts with a number of Sunni representatives, and Bouhabib is among the friends of some Christian parties, especially the representatives of the Free Patriotic Movement and its president, Representative Gebran Bassil, that there is” Harsh measures “against those who disrupt the election of the president.”

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Contrasting talk

However, political sources spoke of two points of view that emerged at the Paris meeting, prompting the five countries to limit their movement in the first stage to applying pressure to urge the Lebanese to get out of the stalemate that prevents ending the presidential vacancy. And at a time when those who met the five diplomats confirmed that they did not put forward the names of a candidate or candidates for the presidency in their tour, the sources indicated that an attempt was made by the French side to put forward names, not only for the first presidency but also for the prime minister, as it seemed that Paris favored the return of President Mikati to power with consideration The head of the “Marada” movement, Suleiman Franjieh, was at the forefront of the candidates, but representatives of some Arab countries refused this, and called for letting the Lebanese choose new personalities for the positions from outside the current ruling structure, so he disregarded the involvement in the names, and it was decided to suffice with pressure on the parties to stop procrastinating in electing the president.

Will the pressure exerted by the five countries succeed in getting the country out of the deadlock in choosing the Lebanese president?

Political sources familiar with some of the details of the Paris meeting talk about the intention of the ambassadors of the five countries to meet with some political leaders in the coming days. With a team to meet with its political leadership to urge it to make progress in the process of filling the void. The same sources suggest that the stalemate will continue as long as the internal settlement, with its regional dimensions, has not yet matured.

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