French help Lebanon crisis; democracy support urged in elections
Lebanon-France, Politics, 7/23/2007
Top French diplomat Jean-Claude Cousseran said recent talks between representatives of Lebanese political forces near Paris helped foster trust and dialogue.
Speaking after talks with Head of the Future Bloc in Parliament MP Saad Hariri, the French envoy stressed that France's initiative to resolve Lebanon's crisis is continuing and has been showing positive results.
Cousseran told reporters his meeting with Hariri was important and focused on the results of the conference in the Paris suburb of La Celle Saint Cloud earlier this month and the upcoming visit of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to Beirut.
The French envoy pointed out that his country's bid to resolve Lebanon's crisis has helped narrow the gaps between the different parties, but made clear that some problems remain unresolved. The French envoy's discussions with Hariri were attended by French Ambassador to Lebanon Bernard Emie.
Hariri had said days before the March 14 coalition will prove through its solidarity in the August fifth parliamentary by-elections in Beirut and in the Metn region that the Lebanese will prevail over the assassination of legislators. Hariri was speaking in a telephone call to former President Amin Gemayel, who announced he will run in the elections, to replace his assassinated son, late MP Pierre Gemayel.
Hariri urged voters in Beirut to take to the polls on August 5th to elect the Future Movement candidate for legislative by-elections Mohammed al-Ameen Itani, as a message to the assassins of late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and three other MPs from the capital city, including MP Walid Eido, that Beirutis will respond to the killings by upholding democracy.
Addressing an electoral rally in Koreitem, in the presence of Itani and city dignitaries, Head of the Future Bloc said Beirut is a “red line” and its people will remain steadfast in protecting their dignity and Arab identity. He expressed confidence that the Future Movement candidate will win the by-election to replace assassinated MP Eido, and so will former President Amin Gemayel, who is a candidate in the Metn by-election to replace assassinated MP Pierre Gemayel.
Hariri made clear that Beirut will remain a city that symbolizes unity, adding Lebanon will continue to be a bastion of democracy in the East.
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