Lebanon receives French proposal to ease border tensions with Israel

Lebanon has received a written proposal from France that aims to halt border clashes between pro-Iranian Hezbollah fighters and Israeli soldiers, a Lebanese government source told dpa on Tuesday.

“I can confirm that Lebanon received this proposal, which calls mainly for Hezbollah to withdraw its fighters around 10 kilometres from the border with Israel,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

The document was delivered by French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné, who visited Beirut last week.

The source added that the text was handed over to Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib and House speaker Nabih Berri, who is close to Hezbollah.

The French proposal is said to stipulate that Hezbollah withdraw its elite fighters – mainly members of the Radwan brigade – from areas close to the border with Israel in southern Lebanon.

“Mainly the plan – which was worked out by the US, France, Egypt and Qatari officials – calls for the Lebanese army and UN peacekeepers to monitor this area,” the source said.

According to a source close to Hezbollah, “the proposal or a paper with suggestions from France and other sides in Europe was delivered, but not officially to Hezbollah.”

“We repeat our stance, which is there will be no halt of attacks from southern Lebanon unless the aggression on Gaza is halted,” the source said, adding that the final word will come from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Commenting on the recent visits to Lebanon by Arab and Western delegations, Nasrallah stressed that “all the delegations that came to Lebanon over the past months had one objective, which is the security and protection of Israel.”

“Western delegations do not address in their papers any matter related to the aggression, crimes and famine that is happening in Gaza,” Nasrallah said in a speech in Beirut to honour the wounded in the ranks of his movement.

The Hezbollah chief was making an apparent reference to the French paper.

He accused the Western delegations of the always “adopting the Israeli stance and then presenting it to Lebanon.”

Tensions have been high along the border since war erupted months ago between Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas in Gaza.

According to Hezbollah, which is allied with Hamas, 194 of its fighters have been killed since the current war started on October 7.

Supporters of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group raise their fists and cheer, as they listen to a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-general of Hezbollah, who appears via a video link, during an event to mark the "Wounded Resistance Fighter Day". Marwan Naamani/dpa

Supporters of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group raise their fists and cheer, as they listen to a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary-general of Hezbollah, who appears via a video link, during an event to mark the “Wounded Resistance Fighter Day”. Marwan Naamani/dpa

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