Macron: Lebanon must be a stabilising regional force

In joint news conference, French president hails Lebanese prime minister’s decision to withdraw resignation.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris [Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Paris [Philippe Wojazer/Reuters]

Speaking at a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Lebanon must stay out of regional conflicts and be a stabilising force.

“It is essential that all parties, Lebanese and regional, respect the cardinal principle of non-interference,” Macron said on Friday, noting that all parties in the Lebanese government, “including Hezbollah”, had given commitments on that.

Macron also hailed the premier’s withdrawal of the resignation announcement he made from Saudi Arabia last month.

“It is a positive development, one we consider essential, and I salute it,” said Macron, who arranged Hariri’s return to Beirut via Paris after Lebanese President Michel Aoun accused Saudi Arabia of holding the prime minister captive.

Hariri added: “The stability of Lebanon may seem like a small miracle given the many conflicts that destabilise the region, but it is maintained at the cost of sacrifice, dialogue and compromise.”

Friday’s meeting focused on efforts to strengthen the Lebanese army, economic reforms and the Syrian refugee influx, among other issues. Stability was the key theme, Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler said from Paris.

“The message here is that Lebanon needs to be strong, it needs to stand alone, and its sovereignty must be respected by all parties,” Butler said.

“The French president said the main aim was to try to support and stabilise Lebanon because when Saad Hariri resigned unexpectedly last November, it really sent Lebanon into political turmoil,” she added. “And it really exposed the fact that the tensions between those two regional powerhouses, Saudi Arabia and Iran, were at play in a destabilising manner.”

Also on Friday, Macron and Hariri expressed concern over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with Hariri noting that it would “further complicate the peace process and poses a long-term problem for the stability of the region”.


Source: Al Jazeera

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