Hariri from Matignon: We are very proud of the victories of the Lebanese army

NNA – The President of the council of ministers Saad Hariri met today with the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at Matignon Palace and they discussed developments in Lebanon and the region.

Prime minister Hariri arrived at the Matignon Palace at 2 pm, where he was received by his French counterpart. They held an extended meeting attended by: Chargé d’Affaires of the Lebanese Embassy in Paris Ghadi Khoury, Hariri’s advisor for European affairs Bassil Yared and his chief of staff Nader Hariri, and on the French side, the French ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher, the diplomatic adviser to Prime Minister Emmanuel Lenain, the director of North Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bonnafont and the Head of the Prime Minister’s Office for military affairs General Benoit Durieux.
Prime ministers Hariri and Philippe then held a closed meeting.

At the end of the meeting, President Hariri said:
“I came to France to explain the situation in Lebanon. We are very proud of the victories of the Lebanese army in the Bekaa. This helps Lebanon show that the state and the government fulfill their duty. I also came to explain the situation of the displaced Syrians and how to deal with this in a way that is useful to Lebanon and the displaced. For us, the solution is their safe return to Syria. This is very important and I explained our position to my French counterpart. We also talked about the economic situation in Lebanon. Tomorrow I will meet the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron and we will discuss these files”.

Question: Is there any new assistance for the army? Have you received any promises on that?
Hariri: We are working on that.

Question: What do you wish Lebanon for Eid al-Adha?
Hariri: I wish it to be a celebration for all Lebanese. Lebanon has gone through a very difficult period in recent weeks. We have soldiers who fell in this war against Daesh and the important thing is that the Lebanese army came out victorious of this war and I believe that all the Lebanese are very proud of their army. As Lebanese, we must always work to strengthen the Lebanese state, and I think we have done a lot so far, but we still have a lot of work to do.

Question: Opinions differ in Lebanon on the results of the battles of the jurds and the announcement by (Hezbollah Secretary General) Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah of the victory of Hezbollah and not of the State. What is your position and is it true that President Michel Aoun asked you to leave this question to Hezbollah?
Hariri: My position is clear. The state achieved a victory. The Lebanese army had victims. It found the kidnapped soldiers, who suffered a fate that is tragic for their families and all the Lebanese. The Lebanese are not divided on this subject. Some are trying to take advantage of this victory, but as my father used to say, no one is bigger than his country. Lebanon, the Lebanese people and the Lebanese army achieved a victory. And when Lebanon wins, all Lebanese are victorious.

Question: Is the displaced case dealt with at the economic level only, without accelerating their return home?
Hariri: This is the first thing I said. The solution is their safe return. In countries that have relations with the Syrian regime, such as Iraq, have the displaced returned to Syria? No, so the solution is to ensure their safe return to a place where they feel safe.

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