French President Francois Hollande speaks during a press conference at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, April 1, 2016. AFP / Jim Watson
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French President Francois Hollande's visit to Beirut this week is designed to reaffirm France's political, military and humanitarian commitment to Lebanon and show solidarity with a friendly country, diplomatic sources said Thursday.The source said Hollande's visit is also aimed at helping Lebanon strengthen its security, fight terrorism and bolster the Lebanese Army.Saudi Arabia wanted through the military grant to buttress the [Lebanese] military institution through the French arms. We have accepted this matter because we consider the Lebanese Army as a national army, the source said.Hollande's visit to Lebanon is a friendly one and not a state visit in the absence of a president and his talks with Lebanese leaders will center only on the Lebanese situation and will not touch on other topics related to conflicts in the region, the source said.Hollande informed Frangieh of France's viewpoint on the presidential election, the source said, without giving further details.
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