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International Support Group on Lebanon Meets in Paris on Friday

International Support Group on Lebanon Meets in Paris on Friday

Monday, 4 December, 2017 - 18:00
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. (Reuters)

The International Support Group on Lebanon will meet in Paris on Friday where Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri will meet ministers from major powers.

Discussions will focus on ways to stabilize the country a month after his surprise resignation sent shockwaves across Lebanon and threatened to plunge it into political turmoil, three diplomats said.

A French official said the meeting will be co-chaired by the United Nations and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, aiming at "reiterating the international community's commitment to supporting Lebanon's stability, integrity and security" and to encourage cooperation among rival Lebanese factions.

The Arab and European diplomats said Hariri would take part in the meeting of the Group that includes the five members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Hariri resigned as prime minister on November 4 in protest against Iranian meddling in Lebanese affairs and the “Hezbollah” group’s interference in regional affairs.

He suspended the resignation on November 22 pending consultations with Lebanese powers.

A European diplomat said the Paris meeting would be an opportunity to reinforce that the Lebanese must stick by the state policy of "disassociation", or keeping out of regional conflicts.

A guest list was not released, but the meeting comes when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to be in Paris.

Before Hariri sets off, Lebanon's cabinet is this week set to meet for the first time since the political crisis erupted.

The date of the cabinet meeting has not yet been confirmed but it is expected to address Hariri's resignation.

MP Wael Abou Faour, who met Hariri on Monday, said discussions among politicians were "moving positively" and would result in a "unanimous stance" by the cabinet soon.

The Lebanon support group, launched in 2013, also includes the European Union, the Arab League and United Nations.

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