BEIRUT (AFP) – French Foreign Minister Stephane Ségornet warned Lebanese officials on Tuesday that Israel may launch a war against Lebanon to force tens of thousands of its citizens back to the border, as Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib announced.
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Bou Habib said during a press conference after a meeting with his French counterpart as part of a tour of the region that includes Israel, “We (Sigournet) warned that the Israelis could start a war, and they hope they will return (the northern part)” to their homes.
He continued, “We told the French we don't want a war with Israel”, but rather, “we want an agreement through the United Nations, the French and the Americans. We want an agreement with them (defining) borders.”
Since the outbreak of war in Gaza on October 7, there has been a daily exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel along the Lebanese-Israeli border. Emphasize peace.
Hezbollah announces that it is targeting Israeli military bases and points in support of Gaza and “in support of its resistance,” while the Israeli military is retaliating with aerial and artillery bombardment. .
More than four months of escalation have prompted tens of thousands of residents on both sides of the border to flee their homes. Israel has been pushing for the removal of Hezbollah from its northern borders to ensure the safety of border residents.
During his meeting with Sigourney on Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned that “time is running out” to reach a diplomatic solution in southern Lebanon and that “Israel will move militarily the citizens who have been driven from their homes to return to its northern territory.” .
Many local and international bodies, especially Washington, called for the need to implement Security Council Resolution 1701, which strengthened the presence of the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon following the end of the war between Hezbollah and Israel in July 2006. The decision prohibited the carrying of arms outside the border area by the army and UNIFIL forces.
Bou Habib reiterated the position of the Lebanese authorities regarding the full implementation of Resolution 1701. Asked about the demands of the Lebanese side, he said, “We say, help us recruit about six to seven thousand people” into the ranks of the army.
He continued, “We hear it, and we are welcome,” explaining, “We need an additional number to put them in the South, and the French are very interested in the matter,” denying it had anything to do with it. Israel demands that Hezbollah withdraw from the border area.
French ministerial meetings on Tuesday included interim Prime Minister Najib Mikadi, Parliament Speaker Nabih Perry and army chief Joseph Aoun. His visit to Beirut came as part of his first tour of the region since his appointment, which he started from Cairo on Monday and included Israel, Ramallah and Jordan.
Recently, Western officials have been visiting Lebanon, insisting on containment, avoiding further expansion of the border, and pushing for diplomatic solutions.
“Everyone is concerned that there is no war in southern Lebanon and northern Israel,” said Bou Habib, who received his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on Wednesday.
Since the escalation began, 226 people have been killed in Lebanon, including 166 Hezbollah fighters and 26 civilians, including three journalists, according to a count compiled by Agence France-Presse. In Israel, the military counted nine soldiers and six civilians dead.
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