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The statement issued at the conclusion of the Elysée meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Lebanese Army (LAF) Commander-in-Chief General Joseph Aoun was capped with the assurance that “President Macron will guarantee follow-through on various points.” Consequently, he dispatched Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné to the region to shield Lebanon from imminent risks, urging all parties to cease fire. This call came after Paris and Washington received “accurate and critical information” of Israel’s intention to wage war on Lebanon to dismantle Hezbollah’s military capabilities and ensure the security of settlements.

Hence, Macron tasked Mikati with conveying a “highly urgent” message to Hezbollah, underscoring the dangerous situation in the South and Israel’s looming war preparations, stressing that the countdown had begun. Consequently, Washington and Paris are apprehensive that the broadening of confrontations could be a harbinger of war, citing statements from Israeli officials, particularly Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who confirmed “the war’s inevitability.” According to Israeli sources, this war will wreak havoc on Lebanon like a destructive earthquake.

Therefore, Séjourné’s visit is a comprehensive follow-up to the Elysée meetings and addresses the following issues: the implementation of UN Resolution 1701 to rescue Lebanon and prevent war, the presidential election and the imperative of electing a president while building upon the activities of the Quintet ambassadors (USA, France, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) and those of the Moderation Bloc initiative. This comes after France declared “having no candidate, but supporting whoever can achieve consensus.” Séjourné’s visit will also ultimately address the dossier of displaced Syrians, which has become an existential threat to Lebanon.

According to Western diplomatic sources, “Paris has fine-tuned its proposal in light of Washington’s remarks, aligning it with the American initiative.” The French initiative underwent adjustments during a meeting in Washington between former French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and US envoy to Lebanon Amos Hochstein. While the French proposal emphasizes halting military operations in the South and separating this front from that of Gaza, the American initiative focuses on border delineation and agreement on disputed border points.

The French proposal coincides with an Egyptian suggestion for a permanent truce in Gaza. According to information, there are positive indications of Israeli acceptance of the framework agreement, and Hamas’s approval of the proposal that meets most of its demands.

There is convergence towards innovative solutions within a long-term plan to address contentious subjects, including the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Egyptian initiative ushers in the beginning of normalization with Saudi Arabia, a move Benjamin Netanyahu is poised to embrace to enhance his political situation. All this suggests a positive atmosphere and the potential achievement of a permanent truce.

Moreover, Hamas’s stance confirming its adherence to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), led by the Fatah movement, in addition to the formation of a unified government encompassing both Gaza and the West Bank and the Islamist movement’s acceptance of a fully sovereign Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international resolutions pertaining to the 1967 borders, is noteworthy. If this happens, Hamas’s military wing would be dismantled and China would host delegations from Fatah and Hamas to achieve Palestinian reconciliation.