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Preparations underway for Macron’s Visit to Lebanon

Preparations underway for Macron’s Visit to Lebanon

Monday, 29 April, 2019 - 05:15
French President Emmanuel Macron. (AFP)
Beirut – Khalil Fleihan
Lebanon received official notice from France that President Emmanuel Macron is planning on visiting the country at the invitation of President Michel Aoun.

The date of the trip has not been set yet, but Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to travel to Beirut in June.

Le Drian is set to follow up on Beirut’s reform commitments to the CEDRE conference that was held in Paris in 2018.

Among these reforms was drafting a comprehensive reform plan to tackle Lebanon’s electricity sector. Earlier this month, the government approved the plan that aims to boost generation capacity while reducing state subsidies that have led to one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.

A diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Le Drian will hold frank talks with Lebanese officials on the CEDRE pledges.

The US sanctions on Iran will also figure in his discussions. Diplomatic information from Beirut revealed that Macron had urged his American counterpart, Donald Trump, to “take into consideration” the situation in Lebanon in regards to the sanctions.

Macron warned that the sanctions may have a “counter-effect and force Lebanese political forces that are opposed to Hezbollah to shift stances and support the party” to confront the sanctions and their impact on the country.

He stressed the need to take into account the “uniqueness and diversity of Lebanese society and approach its problems with diligence.”

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