Geagea Discusses Presidential Developments with French Diplomat

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Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday discussed the latest developments regarding the presidential file with a visiting French delegation, state-run National News Agency reported.

During the meeting, Jerome Bonnafont, the head of the Africa and Middle East department at the French foreign ministry, told Geagea that “France is worried over the economic and social situations in Lebanon, which have reached the brink of collapse,” NNA said.

“He also said that his visit is aimed at exploring the political leaders' stances to determine if it is possible to elect a president in the upcoming electoral session,” the agency added.

The French visitor stressed that “France will always stand by Lebanon in order to strengthen security and stability, combat terror and support the economy.”

Talks also tackled the regional situations, especially the developments in Syria and the international-backed campaign to recapture Iraq's Mosul from the hands of the Islamic State jihadist group.

According to NNA, Bonnafont's 48-hour visit to Lebanon is a completion of the visit that French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault paid to the country in June and he is scheduled to meet with several other political leaders.

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, MP Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.

Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri, who is close to Saudi Arabia, launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.

Hariri's move prompted Geagea to endorse the nomination of Aoun, his long-time Christian rival, after months of political rapprochement talks between their two parties.

Aoun's chances have largely surged in recent days amid reports that Hariri has decided to shift his support from Franjieh to the FPM founder.

The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.

Comments 1
Missing humble 17 October 2016, 21:02

Dr Geagea : you made a HISTORICAL mistake.