Top French diplomat arrives in Lebanon to broker an end to clashes between Hezbollah and Israel

BEIRUT (AP) – French Foreign Minister Stephane Séjournet arrived in Lebanon on Sunday as part of a diplomatic attempt to mediate the tense situation there. Conflict on the border between Lebanon and Israel.

Sejourne was scheduled to meet with UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, military commanders, the foreign minister and the interim prime minister.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has been exchanging near-daily attacks with Israeli forces in border areas and sometimes across the border for nearly seven months against the backdrop of Israel’s war against Hezbollah’s ally Hamas in Gaza.

Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 350 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters from Hezbollah and its allies, but also more than 50 civilians. Hezbollah airstrikes killed 10 civilians and 12 soldiers in Israel.

A French diplomatic official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists, said Séjournet’s visit was aimed at conveying France’s “horror of war against Lebanon” and offering revised proposals that Paris had previously presented to Lebanon. He said it was to submit. Lebanon called for a diplomatic solution to the border dispute.

Western diplomats have put forward a series of proposals for a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah. Much of this depends on Hezbollah moving troops several kilometers from the border, increasing the Lebanese army’s presence there, and negotiating the withdrawal of Israeli troops from disputed territory along the border, which Lebanon says Israel is moving into small swathes of Lebanese territory. It is said that it has been occupied ever since. It withdrew from the rest of southern Lebanon in 2000.

An earlier French proposal included Hezbollah withdrawing its troops 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the border.

Hezbollah has said it is open to the offer, but there will be no deal in Lebanon until a ceasefire is reached in Gaza.

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