BEIRUT: French interests in Lebanon are safe, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told France’s envoy to the country Friday, a day after protesters vandalized one of Paris’ cultural centers in the south.
According to Charbel's office, the minister assured French Ambassador to Lebanon Patrice Paoli that all measures have been taken to protect French interests and cultural centers in the country.
On Thursday, supporters of George Abdallah, a leftist militant who has yet to be deported from France, sprayed paint on the walls of the French Cultural Center in south Lebanon.
During a meeting at the Interior Ministry, Paoli and Charbel discussed Abdallah’s case and its repercussions on French interests in the country, the minister’s press office said.
A French court decided earlier this week to release Abdallah after 28 years of imprisonment on condition he be expelled from France. However, his release was delayed after the French Interior Ministry refused to approve his deportation order.
The leftist militant was sentenced to life in prison by a French court in 1987 for the 1982 murders of American Lt. Col. Charles Ray and Israeli diplomat Yaakov Bar-Simantov in Paris.
In response to the delay, protests erupted in the country demanding his release.
Charbel and Paoli also discussed Friday the preparations by the Interior Ministry for the upcoming parliamentary elections to ensure a transparent process.
The Lebanese government allocated Thursday $400,000 to the Interior Ministry for the parliamentary elections, which are due in June.