Egypt FM, French envoy discuss crises in Lebanon and Gaza

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 May 2024

During a meeting in Cairo on Tuesday with the French President's Special Envoy to Lebanon Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry emphasized the importance of intensifying joint efforts to resolve the presidential vacuum in Lebanon.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry receives French President's Special Envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Cairo, 7 May 2024. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry


Shoukry also commended the active and crucial role undertaken by the ambassadors of the five-nation group on Lebanon, which comprises Egypt, the US, France, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, in working to facilitate a consensus among Lebanese factions over a presidential candidate.

He highlighted the collaboration between Egypt and France in this regard.

Shoukry also emphasized Egypt's keen interest in safeguarding Lebanon's security, stability, and sovereignty, expressing his appreciation for French efforts to calm tensions in south Lebanon, and affirming Cairo's support for these efforts and willingness to coordinate with Paris in this regard.

Furthermore, Egypt's top diplomat emphasized the need for any proposal to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which aims to uphold Lebanon’s sovereignty and security and cease the Israeli attacks.

Meanwhile, the French envoy highlighted Egypt's pivotal role with the five-nation group in calming tensions between Lebanon and Israel, as well as its assistance to Lebanese parties to overcome the presidential vacuum.

Both sides agreed to continue consultation and coordination to support the Lebanese people to overcome the current crisis, choose its leadership, and empower the Lebanese institutions to assume their roles.

The five-nation group, launched in 2023, is a coordination framework for the Arab and international communities to support Lebanon's stability.

It has previously held coordination meetings at the level of senior officials of the foreign ministries and ambassadors of the five countries in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

Lebanon has endured a presidential vacuum since October 2022, as it grapples with a financial crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern history, with a currency in free fall and soaring poverty rates.

Gaza War

According to the Egyptian foreign ministry, both sides also discussed the recent regional developments and their consequences on regional stability.

Shoukry reiterated Egypt's steadfast stance towards the Gaza crisis, urging de-escalation to avoid widening the conflict.

In this regard, Shoukry underscored the critical situation in Gaza and the international community's failure to prevent Israeli actions in the Palestinian city of Rafah, calling on major countries and stakeholders to take robust actions beyond issuing statements and appeals.

For his part, Le Drian conveyed his deep appreciation for Egypt's relentless and ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire since the outbreak of the crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier Tuesday, Egypt's foreign ministry strongly condemned Israeli military operations in the Palestinian city of Rafah, and its seizure of the Palestinian side of the Rafah Border Crossing.

The ministry's statement came following the Israeli announcement that its army had taken "operational control" of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Egypt, Qatar, and the US have been actively mediating between Israel and Hamas to halt the war, secure captives' release, and facilitate the entry of more aid into the besieged strip.

Israel, whose brutal war on Gaza has continued for seven months, killing 34,789 and wounding 78,204, is facing growing international pressure to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza.

Short link: