BEIRUT: French President Francois Hollande voiced his country’s commitment to Lebanon’s unity during a meeting Thursday with Prime Minister Najib Mikati in New York, and praised the Lebanese government’s efforts to maintain stability.
According to Mikati’s press office, Hollande said his country was keen on preserving Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, and noted the difficult phase the small Mediterranean country is going through.
France also vowed to remain committed to the mission of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, which operates in the south of the country.
For his part, Mikati, currently in New York heading the Lebanese delegation to the 67th General Assembly session, thanked France for its political efforts on Lebanon’s behalf, as well as its continued support for the Army and UNIFIL.
The two officials agreed to hold a meeting in Paris but did not set a specific date.
During his stay in New York, the prime minister has met with a number of international and Arab officials, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he met in the presence of Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad Maliki and Abbas’ top aid Saeb Erekat. During the meeting, they discussed Lebanese-Palestinian relations as well as the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon.
Separately, Mikati also met with Jordan's King Abdallah II at U.N. headquarters, where they discussed bilateral relations. He also met with U.A.E. Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bin Zayed al-Nahyan, with whom he spoke about regional issues, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani.
The prime minister is scheduled to deliver a speech at the 67th general debate at the U.N. Thursday.