France delivered a proposal to end hostilities on the Israeli-Lebanese border, during a recent trip by the French foreign minister to the countries, Reuters reported overnight Monday to Tuesday.
The proposed plan would take place in three steps over a period of 10 days which would then lead to broader border negotiations, requiring action by Hezbollah and other terrorist factions, according to a document seen by the news agency, as well as multiple French and Lebanese sources.
Reportedly recalling a previous ceasefire in 1996, as well as the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war by obligating Hezbollah to withdraw behind the Litani river 19 miles from the border, in hopes that by the end of negotiations there would be a roadmap to returning to these commitments.
Both sides would cease military operations in the first step, as Reuters outlined the plan, which then required terrorist groups in Lebanon to withdraw at least 6 miles north of the border within three days as the second step. The Lebanese army would deploy its soldiers to the area instead, Israel for its part would stop its overflights.
The third and final step would see Israel and Lebanon restart negotiations on disputes for a delineated border, in what Reuters quoted as a “gradual way,” and the UN peacekeeping force would assist. The talks for ensuring the implementation of Resolution 1701 would also take place at this point, requiring the non-state armed terrorist groups to withdraw past the Litani river about 19 miles from the border.
In order to strengthen the Lebanese army, currently seen as weaker than the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, the proposal also called for “financing, equipment, training” to support Lebanon during a severe financial crisis.
A French source told Reuters the proposal reached Hezbollah, as well as the governments of Israel and Lebanon. An Israeli official said a proposal was received, and being discussed by the government.
However, one Lebanese official cited by the report said the written document was neither signed nor dated so it wasn’t deemed official enough to warrant a response. Another official said a French delegation returned to discuss details, following objections by Beirut.
As for Hezbollah, its senior politician Hassan Fadlallah told Reuters there would be no discussions on “any matter related to the situation in the south before the halt of the aggression on Gaza,” adding “The enemy is not in the position to impose conditions.”