PARIS (Reuters) – France has handed messages to Hezbollah and Israel to not destabilise the United Nations’ Lebanon peacekeeping drive UNIFIL and mentioned that any broadening of the Hamas-Israel warfare to Lebanon would plunge the nation “into an abyss”.

France has sought to make use of its historic relationship with Lebanon to attempt to defuse tensions between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah, however violence has spiked. Some 700 French troopers are a part of the UN Interim Drive in Lebanon (UNIFIL) established in 1978 following violence on the Israel-Lebanon border.

“It’s clear that we should not put UNIFIL in an untenable scenario by which it won’t be able to hold out the mission that the United Nations has given it,” Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu informed France Data radio.

“That is the message we’re sending to the varied actors, on the Lebanese aspect in addition to on the Israeli aspect.”

Talking after assembly the French contingent in Lebanon and forward of a much-anticipated speech by Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday, Lecornu mentioned all of Lebanon’s leaders wanted to grasp the danger of going to warfare.

“The warfare right here in Lebanon would plunge a part of the Center East into an abyss, into an abyss which we’d have problem collectively to get again up from,” Lecornu mentioned.

President Emmanuel Macron appointed a former international minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in June to attempt to give you a technique to persuade Lebanon’s political elite to place rivalries apart and appoint a brand new head of state after greater than a 12 months of blockage to hold out financial reforms and unlock important international assist.

Nonetheless, that has led to nowhere.

“It is clear that within the difficulties we’re experiencing, not having a contact individual for over a 12 months now is senseless. This weakens Lebanon much more,” Lecornu mentioned.

Hezbollah has been exchanging hearth with Israeli forces throughout the Israeli-Lebanese border for the reason that Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel went to warfare on Oct. 7, within the deadliest violence on the frontier since a 2006 warfare.

(Reporting by John Irish; enhancing by Grant McCool)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.


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