France pledges solidarity over Lebanon violence

21st May 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Sunday to assure him of France's solidarity following an outburst of violence in north Lebanon, his office said.

PARIS, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Sunday to assure him of France's solidarity following an outburst of violence in north Lebanon, his office said.

Kouchner, who took office on Friday in the government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, "expressed France's solidarity and trust in the Lebanese authorities to restore order and calm," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

In the telephone call, Kouchner stressed the importance Paris gave to "the independence, sovereignty and stability of Lebanon" and the need to "investigate the situation, especially in Tripoli."

The two men also discussed plans for a meeting "in the near future."

Forty-six people were killed in clashes Sunday between the army and Islamic militants near Tripoli in north Lebanon, in the deadliest outburst of internal violence since the 1975-90 civil war, medical and security sources said.

The fighting has pitted the army against members of Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Islam around the refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared outside the northern city.

Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac was a close friend of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in February 2005. The former president and his wife moved into a Paris apartment belonging to the Hariri family after he left the Elysee last Wednesday.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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