France has taken bold steps to end fighting between the Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel at the border by delivering a written proposal to Beirut, calling fighters including Hezbollah’s elite unit to withdraw 10 km from the border.
Four senior Lebanese and three French officials who confirmed the letter said the document, the first written proposal brought to Beirut during weeks of Western mediation, was delivered to top Lebanese state officials including Prime Minister Najib Mikati by French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne last week.
It declares the aim of preventing a conflict that risks spiraling out of control and enforcing a potential ceasefire, when the conditions are right and ultimately proposing negotiations on delineation of the contentious land border between Lebanon and Israel.
While some details of similar mediation efforts by U.S. Middle East envoy Amos Hochstein have been circulating in recent weeks, the full details of the French written proposal delivered to Lebanon have not previously been reported.
Earlier, Hezbollah rejected formally negotiating a de-escalation until the war in Gaza ends as hostilities have run in parallel to the Gaza war and are fueling concern of a ruinous, all-out confrontation.