Hollande in Beirut on April 16 in 'Show of Support'

French President Francois Hollande is expected to visit Beirut on April 16 in a "show of support" for Lebanon amid difficult conditions in the Middle East, a French source said on Tuesday.

The source told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that Hollande’s trip to Lebanon would be part of a tour to the region that will also take him to Egypt and Jordan.

The French President had postponed his visit to Lebanon on many occasions for security reasons but he insisted on coming next month despite advice not to, said the source.

Hollande wanted to include Beirut in his Mideast tour to express France’s solidarity with Lebanon on the Syrian refugee crisis and to stress Paris’ support for security and stability in the country.

The visit has an important connotation, said the source, because it comes amid a political crisis that has been gripping Lebanon since the end of the term of President Michel Suleiman in May 2014.

Hollande carries with him a message that France will continue to support Lebanon despite the difficult regional situation although he does not carry with him a magical solution for the presidential deadlock, the source told al-Hayat.

After his Beirut visit, the French president will travel to Egypt for talks with top officials, including his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and later to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II.



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