Macron Says Lebanon Can Rely on France's 'Continuous Support'
French President Emmanuel Macron has told President Michel Aoun that Lebanon can count on France's "continuous support," in a letter of condolences over the death of ex-Maronite patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir.
“France has lost a precious friend,” Macron said in the letter, which was delivered by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Sfeir was a “defender of the Lebanese model which is based on pluralism, tolerance and coexistence, which we are keen on,” Macron added.
“I remember his work for reconciliation and dialogue among the various sects in Lebanon after the end of the civil war,” the French leader went on to say.
He added: “I cannot but salute patriarch Sfeir's vigorous and courageous struggle for the sake of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence when they were fundamentally threatened.”
“I remain confident that the spirit he deep-rooted and the heritage he left will continue to inspire the Lebanese, especially as they face the challenges that are rocking your country. In its efforts, it can count on France's continuous support.” Macron said.
Sfeir, who wielded considerable political influence during the country's civil war and was an ardent advocate of a Syrian troop withdrawal, was buried in the seat of the Maronite church in the town of Bkirki on Thursday.
Hundreds of mourners took part in the funeral, including clergymen and local and foreign dignitaries, among them French FM Le Drian.
"He was a man of peace," Le Drian said. "Throughout his entire life, he was an architect of Lebanese national reconciliation."
The former patriarch died on Sunday, two weeks after he was hospitalized with a chest infection. He was 99.