France’s Hollande starts Mideast tour with Lebanon visit – FRANCE 24
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French President Francois Hollande arrived in Lebanon on Saturday at the start of a four-day tour of the Middle East.
In Beirut on Saturday, Hollande met with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Tammam Salam, and announced that France will increase its aid for Lebanon to €100 million over the next three years.
Lebanon hosts more than one million Syrian nationals who have fled the brutal war raging in their country since 2011.
The Syrian conflict has deepened the divide between Lebanon’s own political factions, paralysing government institutions.
Parliament has extended its own mandate twice, and Lebanon has been left without a president since May 2014.
During his visit in Beirut, Hollande also underlined France’s support for the Lebanese army, pledging “immediate aid to strengthen Lebanon’s military capacity” and said that Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian “will define with his Lebanese counterpart material resources to strengthen Lebanon’s ability to ensure its security”.
The comments come after Saudi Arabia suspended a grant to finance $3 billion worth of French weaponry for Lebanon earlier this year.
On Sunday, the French leader will travel to an informal Syrian refugee camp in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa Valley to speak to families who will be resettled in France.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2016-04-16
France’s Hollande starts Mideast tour with Lebanon visit – FRANCE 24}