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French FM visits Lebanon in bid to end political deadlock

President of Lebanon Michel Aoun (R) receives French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) in Beirut, Lebanon on 6 March 2017 [Handout / Lebanese Presidency - Anadolu Agency]
President of Lebanon Michel Aoun (R) receives French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) in Beirut, Lebanon on 6 March 2017 [Handout / Lebanese Presidency - Anadolu Agency]

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, yesterday and met with President Michael Aoun as part of efforts to end months of political deadlock hindering the formation of a new government.

The minister said on Twitter that the visit is an expression of France's solidarity with the Lebanese people, and that France will deal firmly with those hindering the formation of a new Lebanese government.

Le Drian said Wednesday on Twitter that he was planning to send a "message of great firmness to political leaders", adding: "We have taken national action, and this is just the start."

The visit comes a few days after Paris hinted at the possibility of imposing sanctions on Lebanese officials and filing a legal complaint before the French judiciary against the governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh.

Le Drian has recently said that "those responsible for obstruction must realise that we will not stand idly by," noting that Paris had started a discussion within the European Union regarding tools that could be used to "tighten pressure" on the targeted officials.

READ: Lebanon president asks for Europe's help to recover smuggled funds

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