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France's Le Drian visits Lebanon in bid to break presidential deadlock

French envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian’s visit to Beirut comes as parliament failed for the 12th time to elect a president.
Former Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves le Drian arrives at a state dinner upon the visit of United Arab Emirates President at the Grand Trianon estate near the Palace of Versailles, south west of Paris, on July 18, 2022. - French President welcomes the United Arab Emirates President on July 18, 2022, whose state visit "will confirm the strong ties" between France and the rich Gulf oil country, the Elysee Palace announced on July 14, 2022. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LUDO

BEIRUT — French President Emmanuel Macron's new special envoy for Lebanon Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in Beirut on Wednesday, the state-run National News Agency reported.

According to the agency, the former foreign minister was received at the airport by French ambassador to Lebanon, Anne Grillo, and a number of embassy staff. He is scheduled to meet with Lebanese officials as part of France’s efforts to break the presidential impasse in the crisis-hit country.

Lebanon, a former French colony, has been without a head of state since former President Michel Aoun’s term ended last October. Since then, the heavily divided parliament has held 12 sessions that all ended in failure to elect a president.

In the most recent attempt to break the deadlock, the country’s largest Christian parties and opposition blocs nominated Jihad Azour, an International Monetary Fund official and former finance minister. In a parliament session held last Wednesday, Azour failed to garner the 65 votes needed to move to a second round. He is going up against Suleiman Frangieh, a close friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the candidate of the powerful paramilitary Hezbollah movement and its allies.

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