Hollande to meet Syria, Lebanon opposition chiefs in Saudi

29th December 2013, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande will meet former Lebanese premier Saad Hariri and Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba in Saudi Arabia, where he arrived Sunday, said a member of his entourage.

The meeting with Hariri, a fierce critic of the Syrian regime, comes amid heightening tensions in Lebanon after the assassination of his close aide, ex-minister Mohammad Chatah, in a car bomb on Friday in Beirut.

Hariri, the son of former premier Rafiq who was assassinated in a massive car bomb in February 2005, lives outside Lebanon due to security fears.

The Sunni Muslim leader is also a strong critic of the Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria's civil war.

In an interview published Sunday in pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, Hollande called for the respect of "constitutional deadlines" in Lebanon, starting with "holding presidential elections in May 2014".

© 2013 AFP

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