France denies it will hold conference on Lebanon presidency crisis

French ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuel Bonne denied reports on Tuesday that an upcoming conference in France centers on Lebanon’s presidential vacuum.

Speaking to LBCI, Bonne said that a misunderstanding had occurred over what the conference will highlight, clarifying that it was not over Lebanon’s current power void.

The French embassy in Beirut confirmed Bonne’s comments to The Daily Star, saying that the “ambassador’s remarks were misinterpreted.”

On Monday, Bonne had said that the upcoming visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault to Lebanon was “aimed at preparing for an international conference to help resolve the country’s constitutional and political crises.”

His comments came after meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Information Minister Ramzi Joreige.

Rumors circulated recently that France was seeking to end Lebanon’s presidential crisis by bringing in a head of state for two years. Lebanese and French officials have denied such allegations.

French President Francois Hollande, however voiced his country’s readiness to help thaw obstacles in the way of electing a new Lebanese head of state during his two day visit to Lebanon last month.

Lebanon has been without a president since May 2014 when Michel Sleiman’s tenure ended.