For a long time uncertain, the Le Drian-Hariri meeting finally took place at the Palais des Pins, residence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon and not at the Maison du Center, last night. A new snub for the Prime Minister-designate while the French Minister of Foreign Affairs currently in Lebanon went to the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, yesterday morning and to the President of the House Nabih Berri, a little more late.
In the afternoon, Jean-Yves Le Drian met with political opposition forces and civil society groups. They also stressed the need to form an independent government to save the economy, leading to parliamentary and municipal elections on time to create this change in institutions.
Jean Yves le Drian thus warned local leaders accused of obstructing the formation of a new government. The very fact that the meeting thus took place at the Palais des Pins at the last minute illustrates the fear of the last days of those responsible for the Current of the Future, some even like the vice-president of the movement Mustapha Alloush not ruling out the withdrawal of Saad. Hariri in the event of a French boycott.
Moreover, upon his arrival in Beirut, Jean-Yves Le Drian quickly raised his tone vis-à-vis Lebanese officials, indicating that the entry restrictions for politicians accused of corruption or of harming the a new government were just the start of tougher measures to be announced later.
For his part, the President of the Republic, General Aoun issued a press release concerning his meeting stressing his absolute priority to form a new government and explaining his constitutional responsibility to preserve the local political and sectarian balances. He also reiterated his support for the implementation of economic reforms which should begin with the forensic audit of the accounts of the Banque du Liban as a diagnostic tool and asked France and beyond Europe to help the Land of the Cedars to find the billions of dollars illegally transferred abroad.
For the time being, the French minister has not made any statement. He is expected to hold a press conference today, the content of which is unknown.
For now, sources close to him indicate that the French official would not have addressed the question of the formation of a new government in himself, considering that this is a local domestic matter, but would rather have addressed the French initiative and the conditions for the release of economic aid. He accused the local political class of not having respected their commitments made to the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron during his trip to Lebanon.