Girault in Lebanon to Pave Way for Visit by Fabius, Le Drian


3 February 2015

Director of the Department of the Middle East and North Africa at the French Foreign Ministry Jean-François Girault, who is currently in Lebanon, is reportedly preparing for a visit by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Girault, who arrivedin Beirut on Monday, will also pave way for another visit by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Ad Diyar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Girault’s visit comes in light of his country’s insistence to resolve the presidential deadlock in Lebanon and ease the tension.

Lebanon has been without a president since May when the term of Michel Suleiman ended without the election of his successor.

Ongoing disputes between the rival March 8 and 14 camps have thwarted the elections.

The French diplomat, according to Ad Diyar, is expected to hold talks with the political arch-foes, including Hizbullah.

Girault will also seek to reactivate talks on a new head of state, despite previous knowledge that foreign countries are impeding the elections, the newspaper reported.

The visit comes in light of Girault’s recent talks in Riyadh, Tehran, Washington and the Vatican over the presidential crisis in Lebanon. He also met with al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri in Saudi Arabia.

Media reports said last week that the French official decided to suspend his endeavors to reach a breakthrough regarding the presidential stalemate in Lebanon unless new developments occur.

Girault last visited Lebanon in December, where he met during his two-day visit prominent Lebanese officials.

The French diplomat was tasked by French President Francois Hollande to try to reach a breakthrough over the presidential elections in Lebanon.



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