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Cohen asks Paris to help stop Hezbollah ‘provocations’ at border

“France is a strategic ally of Israel," the Israeli FM tweeted.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Paris, July 19, 2023. Source: Twitter.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in Paris, July 19, 2023. Source: Twitter.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his French counterpart in Paris on Wednesday and asked France to help stop Hezbollah “provocations” at the Lebanese border.

“Excellent meeting with the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. We discussed the fight against the Iranian nuclear program, the expansion of the Abraham Accords, and I asked her to use France’s influence in Lebanon to stop Hezbollah‘s provocations that endanger regional stability,” Cohen said in a Twitter post after the meeting.

“France is a strategic ally of Israel, we discussed expanding cooperation between the countries, and I thanked her for her activity against antisemitism and for the benefit of the Jewish community,” the minister continued.

The Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group has carried out a series of hostile acts at the border with Israel in recent months, including setting up a manned outpost in April a few meters on the Israeli side of the Blue Line but beyond the Israeli security fence. The position, located across from an IDF post, was reportedly manned by three to eight armed terrorists.

Paris has generally good relations with Beirut dating back to when France held the League of Nations Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon in 1923-1946.

Cohen’s one-day visit to France came a day before the United Nations Security Council was scheduled to discuss the deteriorating situation at the Israeli-Lebanese border ahead of a vote next month to renew the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) for another year.

UNIFIL was established in 1978 to confirm Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon following a military incursion that came in response to PLO terrorism. After 2006’s Second Lebanon War between Hezbollah and Israel, UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded to monitor the cessation of hostilities.

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