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Still according to the Lebanese newspaper, French sources confirmed Mr. Cousseran conveyed a “harsh warning” to Syria’s Vice President Farouk Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem concerning the need to deal “positively” with French and Arab efforts aimed at building stability in Lebanon.

The sources stressed that “Cousseran was ‘very honest and clear’ with the Syrian leadership,” and made it known this was Syria’s “last chance” to change its behavior in Lebanon. The Lebanese paper said the French envoy “informed Syrian officials future such meetings will not take place unless France sees ‘tangible’ changes in Syria’s behavior in Lebanon and the region.”

Yes, the Middle Eastern front may be quiet. But is it the proverbial calm before the storm?

Claude Salhani is international editor for United Press International.