Douste-Blazy: No Disarming Hezbollah, We Insist

Posted by John Rosenthal

In an interview that appears in the Sunday-Monday (13-14 August) edition of Le Monde, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy elucidates the two key points upon which France insisted in negotiations over UN Resolution 1701 on the situation in Lebanon.

The first is that no one talks anymore of a multinational force since the Lebanese Army has decided to deploy 15,000 men in southern Lebanon. That is an important political point. And then no one talks anymore of a force that will be given an offensive mandate to disarm Hezbollah. These are two new elements. They were the red lines for us.

By his first point, Douste-Blazy presumably means to refer to a new multinational force to replace the existing UN force, the UNIFIL. Further on in the interview, Douste-Blazy adds:

We are in agreement about the objective: the disarmament [of Hezbollah], but for us the means are purely political. That is a French specificity.

Douste-Blazy did not elaborate on just what "political means" France intends to bring to bear to disarm Hezbollah, nor when.


[Note: For background on the cordial relations between France and Hezbollah, see "Hezbollah: France is Our Friend" and "The Bonne Entente: France-USA or France Hezbollah?" (on the old Trans-Int).]


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