BEIRUT — The results of the latest mission of French special envoy for Lebanon Jean-Yves Le Drian in Lebanon are "positive," stated caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, after a call with Le Drian at the end of the envoy's three-day visit to Beirut.
Le Drian's visit, the third in months, aimed to break the presidential deadlock.
The French envoy arrived in Lebanon Tuesday and is due to end his tour Friday. Lebanon's presidential vacancy has persisted since Michel Aoun's term of office expired on Oct. 31, 2022.
Mikati discussed meetings he has had with local leaders with Le Drian.
The two men agreed that the results of the talks regarding presidential elections were positive.
Le Drian also visited Ain al-Tineh on Friday, but no information on his talks with Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri have been released so far.
Berri denied on Thursday that Le Drian proposed a third presidential candidate, although the respective candidates of the March 8 alliance and opposition groups have so far failed to garner sufficient votes to be elected.
"We are on the same wavelength with Jean-Yves Le Drian," said Berri in an interview with Asharq al-Awsat published on Thursday. "Dialogue is not only his request but also an Arab and international request because it is the only way out of the crisis," he continued. On Friday morning, Berri met with Le Drian before the latter concluded his three-day visit to Beirut.
At the end of August, Berri called for a meeting of political party leaders to participate in dialogue, to reach consensus on a candidate. Welcomed by Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), Berri's initiative was criticized by opposition groups. Faced with this impasse, the French envoy reportedly proposed a new mediation, consisting of an open electoral session in Parliament, after the withdrawal of the two current candidates (Sleiman Frangieh, backed by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, and Jihad Azour, an executive of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), supported by the opposition groups and the FPM).
Le Drian's visit came ahead of a new meeting of representatives of the Group of Five (United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar) in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, to discuss the Lebanese file.