Hollande says France stands with Lebanon

Beirut, April 17 (IANS) Visiting French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that his country stands with Lebanon and is keen on consolidating security in Lebanon through military cooperation.

In a joint press conference with Lebanon’s Speaker Nabih Berri, Hollande said he was eager to make a third trip to Lebanon to meet with the country’s new head of state, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I want to visit Beirut again when there is a president in Lebanon but the issue lies in the hands of Lebanese lawmakers who should resolve the deadlock and elect a head of state,” said Hollande.

Lebanon has been in a presidential vacuum since the six-year term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and the parliament failed in 37 consecutive sessions to elect an incumbent.

“France stands with Lebanon and is keen on consolidating security in Lebanon through military cooperation,” Hollande added.

Berri said he discussed with Hollande military aid to the Lebanese army, the demarcation of the maritime border, terrorism and the regional tension.

Hollande arrived at the Rafik Hariri Beirut International Airport on Saturday, the first leg of his Middle East tour which also includes Egypt and Jordan.

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