French president, Emmanuel Macron, called on Friday for “the provision of elements of truce on the southern Lebanese borders.”
This came during a telephone conversation by Macron with Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, according to a statement issued by Hariri’s office, of which Anadolu Agency obtained a copy.
The statement confirms that Macron stressed that “France’s commitment to Lebanon’s stability and security, the strengthening of its state and institutions, and the importance of providing the elements of truce on the southern borders.”
During the call, Hariri thanked Macron for his efforts to contain the escalation, after Israel’s attack on Beirut’s suburb.
Hariri also expressed his country’s gratitude for France’s leading role in the extension of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon last Thursday, emphasising his country’s full respect for Resolution 1701.
The statement adds that Macron expressed satisfaction with the ongoing progress towards the launch of CEDRE investment projects, during a meeting between French presidential envoy, Pierre Dukan, and Prime Minister Hariri.
CEDRE is an economic conference which was held in Paris on 6 April 2018, with the participation of 50 countries, aiming to support Lebanon’s economy. The total financial loans pledged by donor countries reached about $12 billion.
The two officials agreed to pursue in-depth research by accelerating the implementation of reforms and investment projects in Lebanon, as well as ways to enhance stability in Lebanon and the region, during their upcoming meeting on 20 September in Paris, according to the statement.
Lebanon has been suffering a severe economic crisis, which has been exacerbated by political unrest in the country. The country’s total general debt amounted to $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, as shown by official figures.
On Sunday, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah announced that its fighters had destroyed an Israeli military vehicle at the road of the Avivim barracks, near the borders in northern Israel, killing and wounding the barracks’ soldiers. Israel counterattacked with dozens of artillery shells targeting southern Lebanon.
Since 25 August, Lebanon has been witnessing escalating security tensions, with the landing of two drones in the southern suburb of Beirut. This was followed the next day by three explosions at the military headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (General Command), in the Qousaya area in Zahlé district, Beqaa.
Israel did not confirm nor deny responsibility for the attacks, but Lebanese president Michel Aoun described the incident as a “declaration of war” from Tel Aviv.