France's FM in Lebanon to prevent Israel-Hezbollah conflict escalation

France's Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné was in Lebanon on Sunday to push proposals to prevent further escalation and a potential war between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah.

As a historical partner to Lebanon, France is seeking to refine a roadmap that both sides could accept to ease tensions.

Israel and the Hezbollah group in Lebanon have exchanged tit for tat strikes in recent months, but these have increased since Iran launched a barrage of missiles on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus that killed members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps' overseas Quds Force.

"Today, if I look at the state of the situation, if there had been no war in Gaza, we would perhaps be talking about war in South Lebanon given the state of strikes and impacts in this area", French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said after a visit to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), in Naqoura on Sunday.

"I'll pass messages and we'll make proposals here in Beirut to the political authorities to stabilise this area and avoid war and so that everyone takes their responsibilities," he added.

Keep momentum

Earlier this year, Séjourné proposed an initiative that would see Hezbollah's elite unit pull back 10 kilometres from the Israeli border, while Israel would halt strikes in southern Lebanon.

Israel has also said it wants to ensure calm is restored on its northern border so that thousands of displaced Israelis can return to the area without fear of rocket attacks from across the border.

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