Lebanon News

Kerry to meet with Hariri in Paris Thursday

Al-Hayat reports that Hariri told Jumblatt that he wouldn't consider backing a new, consensus candidate for the presidency without the support of Aoun. (The Daily Star, Dalati & Nohra, HO).

BEIRUT: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris Thursday, according to a report by Al-Hayat newspaper.

Kerry will also meet many French officials, the report said.

Separately, the Future Movement chief told Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt Friday that he would not support any new consensus presidential candidate that was not approved by MP Michel Aoun, Al-Hayat also reported.

“If there is a possibility of reaching a compromise on another candidate, Hariri will not agree to take this compromise unless Aoun accepts it,” the report said.

However, the report added, Aoun is tenacious about his own candidacy, which has been rejected by Hariri’s Christian allies, mainly the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb Party.

Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement has boosted contacts with Hariri, in what was perceived as an attempt to win the latter’s backing for the former general's candidacy. However, March 14’s only official candidate remains Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.

With Jumblatt also insistent on his own candidate, Henry Helou, in the meeting with Hariri, according to the report, the discussion was not fruitful.

“Hariri’s stand has not changed ... He will not leave his allies. If Aoun wants to be a consensus president, he cannot only agree with Hariri, he should seek the Christians’ and Jumblatt’s consent too,” said Al-Hayat’s sources, which are allegedly close to Hariri.





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