Hollande pledges support for Lebanon
French President François Hollande pledged today to support Lebanon against threats of destabilisation caused by the Syrian civil war spilling into the country.
During a last-minute decision to stop over in Beirut, Hollande spoke at a joint news conference with Lebanese Presodient Michel Sleiman.
“France will spare no effort to guarantee Lebanon’s independence, unity and security” said the French President. He added that France is determined “to oppose with all its strength any bid to destabilise”.
His impromptu meeting in Lebanon comes at a time when the country has increasingly been feeling the effects of the Syrian civil war creep in beyond its borders. Just last month on 19 October, Wissam al-Hassan, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces intelligence chief, was assassinated by a car bomb. It was an attack Lebanon blames on the Syrian opposition.
Just two weeks ago, Lebanon’s opposition called on Prime Minister Najib Mikati to resign. Mikati’s cabinet is dominated by Hezbollah, long seen as a strong ally to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad by the Syrian opposition.
“It is important to comfort President Sleiman at this time” Hollande said before leaving for Beirut.
Hollande is due to attend a talk in Saudi Arabia with King Abdullah later today on Syria and Iran before attending to an Asia-Europe summit in Laos.