Hariri in Paris for International Support Group Meeting
Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived Thursday in Paris to take part in a meeting for the International Support Group for Lebanon, which will be held on Friday.
He described the meeting as “an important juncture for supporting the Lebanese economy and strengthening its resilience in the face of the refugee crisis.”
The decision to hold the meeting came in the wake of Hariri's Nov. 4 shock resignation announcement from Riyadh which had sparked concerns over Lebanon's stability.
"The aim is to support the political process (in Lebanon) at a crucial moment," the French foreign ministry said on Tuesday, only minutes after Hariri announced he had rescinded his resignation.
"It will send a message both to the various parties in Lebanon and to countries in the region," the ministry added.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China -- will be represented at the meeting, along with Germany, Italy and Egypt.
French officials said the goal was to shore up Lebanese institutions, by strengthening the army and supporting Hariri's economic program, with a view to encouraging foreign investment in the country.
Hariri's resignation was seen as part of an intensifying power struggle between Saudi Arabia -- which had long backed Hariri -- and its regional rival Iran, which backs Hizbullah.