Lebanon News

Mikati's Paris visit on as scheduled: Fabius

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius gives a joint press conference after a Foreign Affairs ministers meeting on October 15, 2012 in Luxembourg. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS

BEIRUT: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in remarks published Monday that a planned visit by Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to France would proceed as scheduled.

Fabius also told An-Nahar newspaper that Mikati’s visit was not discussed Sunday during the quick visit French President Francois Hollande made to Beirut, adding that there was no change to the date that the Lebanese prime minister would be visiting his country.

Mikati is planned to visit Paris at the end of the month.

In remarks Sunday, President Francois Hollande said he would meet with Mikati if the latter visited France.

Fabius also reiterated Hollande’s stance that France supported the Cabinet in line with Paris’ support for all Lebanese governments out of the friendship between France and Lebanon and his country’s respect for the democratic process that leads to the formation of governments.

He added that France does not interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon.

Fabius’ remarks come after local media reports stating that Hollande’s Sunday visit to Beirut was a prelude to annulling a planned visit by Mikati to France.

During his three-hour visit to Beirut, Hollande only met with President Michel Sleiman and supported the latter’s efforts to preserve stability in the face of security threats following tensions linked to the Oct. 19 assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, who headed the police’s Information Branch.

The French president later arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah, where he held talks with Saudi King Abdullah. A luncheon hosted by Abdullah for Hollande and the accompanying delegation at his palace in Jeddah was attended by Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Speaking from Jeddah, Hollande highlighted the need for parliamentary elections to be held on time in Lebanon. He also said he would meet with Prime Minister Najib Mikati if the latter visits France.

Meanwhile, French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli will visit Monday noon the tomb of the slain general who was buried next to former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Downtown Beirut.

Hariri, a five-time Lebanese prime minister was assassinated by a massive car bomb on Feb. 14, 2005. Hasan was the head of the security apparatus responsible for Hariri’s safety.





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