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NNA – Prime Minister Saad Hariri received today at the Grand Serail the French presidential candidate, former Minister of Economy and Industry Emmanuel Macron.
They reviewed the general situation in Lebanon and the region.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Macron said: “I will first thank the Prime Minister for his warm welcome and express my joy and honor to have been received here and to have had the opportunity, with my delegation, of a long, rich and very friendly meeting.
I expressed my great satisfaction, and, I believe, France’s satisfaction, to see stability built in Lebanon, and built by his choice to build this balance. It is very important for Lebanon and very important for France, given our relationship, and for the whole region.
We then discussed the situation of the refugees, the Syrian crisis and the security, political and economic issues of the region.
In this context, I was able to reiterate to the Prime Minister, on the one hand, my determination to bring an inclusive political solution to the Syrian crisis, which is the only solution that will provide a credible and lasting solution to the issue of refugees. It is very clearly there that I situate the role of France. But also, without delay, my desire to build with Lebanon and with the government of Mr. Hariri, the ways and means of a new Lebanese growth. I think it is very important also that in the next years and months -in any case, it is my will, after the elections in France- we build a new stage of economic cooperation and development here in Lebanon because the challenges are immense and the success of your government will also be ours.
I would like to conclude by saying that Lebanon is probably the country in which this Syrian crisis must be best grasped. And at the same time the country in which our values and common history are best represented. This ability to have pluralism, diversity and respect, in sometimes very tense situations, of all differences.
And the political agreement you reached a few months ago is the perfect illustration of this. My desire is to inscribe our relationship in this Franco-Lebanese history and this is the laboratory of a past that must be revived. Where, for many others, our common enemies, Lebanon is also a prey, a land they want to destabilize. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, France will always be alongside Lebanon because its history, its values but also those deep shared interests bind us”.
Prime Minister Hariri said: “I would like to thank you for coming to Lebanon, a country that believes that the relationship between France and Lebanon is a story of friendship. Your presence here is a support for Lebanon and for the government in this fragile period for the region. I believe that Lebanon always needs its friends, especially France. I am delighted that you came and hope that we will have the opportunity to meet again in Lebanon or in France.”
Question: In what capacity did you receive Mr. Macron?
Hariri: He came to Lebanon as a friend, as a very important person for France. What he represents, youth, a way to do politics, is important. And his policy towards Lebanon is very important to us.
I hope that Lebanon will always count for France. In this moment of fragility, where the region is prey to extremism, with what is happening in Syria, Iraq, Libya, where everyone is suffering, it is always good to see France in Lebanon.