BEIRUT — President Michel Aoun met Thursday with the French Ambassador Anne Grillo. The two discussed several issues including a joint aid program from France and the Gulf countries to Lebanon, the presidency’s Twitter account reported.
Here’s what we know:
• At the Presidential Palace, Aoun and Grillo discussed "bilateral relations, developments in Ukraine and the French effort along with Gulf countries to help Lebanon, as well as the course of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.”
• French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced on Dec. 4, 2021, from Jeddah that they wanted to "commit fully" to reviving ties between Beirut and Saudi Arabia that were under stress, in part due to Hezbollah’s role in the war in Yemen. These relations were further strained after remarks made by former Information Minister George Kurdahi on the role of the Saudi coalition in the war in Yemen. Macron and MBS however, conditioned their aid on limiting the possession of arms exclusively to the Lebanese state, making an issue of Hezbollah’s weapons. Other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council have echoed this demand.
• The Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Tuesday welcomed the statements made by the Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, in which he renewed the commitment of his government to take the necessary measures for Lebanon to restore its ties with the GCC. The prime minister confirmed this positive atmosphere yesterday, saying that “the dark cloud that covered relations… will soon disappear.”