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The issue of the deadlocked presidential election, which has been placed on the back burner for a while, will be thrust back to the forefront in the coming weeks in light of fast-developing regional events impacting Lebanon, which has been plagued by multiple economic and political crises.

According to a Western diplomatic source, the “changes in (regional) contexts and priorities conferred additional urgency and significance” to the efforts deployed by the Quintet, grouping France, Saudi Arabia, the USA, Qatar and Egypt, to help Lebanon “get out of the bottleneck.”

A new dynamic at all levels and consultations by the five-nation group, especially France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which have designated special envoys to deal with the Lebanese issue, will be gaining momentum ahead of the next visit to Lebanon by French presidential envoy, former minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the source told This Is Beirut.

“A meeting between the ambassadors of the five countries concerned is set to be organized here in Beirut, and this would be followed by a meeting of the special envoys and representatives of the US and Egypt in one of the capitals (Paris, Riyadh or Doha) before Le Drian returns to Lebanon,” he said.

“These meetings would be geared towards preparing for the visit of the French envoy, whose mission will be backed by all members of the Quintet. He will be speaking on their behalf,” the source added.

France is seen as the main driving force behind the new dynamics aimed at bringing the issue of the deadlocked Lebanese presidential election back to the forefront.

The source underlined that the Quintet is keen on “dissociating” the presidential election from regional issues, denying the existence of any link between the two dossiers.

Refuting reports that have been circulating in local media alleging the possibility of a “package deal” under which Hezbollah would be granted a “suitable” president in return for ceasing its military operations in South Lebanon, the source said, “All this is unhealthy for the presidential election which, by itself, is of major importance.”

“As a political process would eventually get underway to settle the problems in the region, having a president in Lebanon is not only a local necessity to launch the needed reforms, but also a regional necessity to enable Lebanon to play its full part in any political solution in the region,” the source added.

In a move that could be interpreted as a manifestation of the regained diplomatic dynamism in preparation for Le Drian’s next visit, French Ambassador Hervé Magro and his Saudi counterpart Walid al-Bukhari held a meeting Thursday at the latter’s residence, during which they reportedly discussed efforts being deployed by their respective countries to speed up the presidential election process.