Le Pen meets Lebanese PM Hariri

February 20, 2017 16:23
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BEIRUT, LEBANON - France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen discussed the Syrian crisis and Islamic State during talks with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in Beirut on Monday, she told reporters.

Speaking to reporters after her visit, Le Pen said her preference was for Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain as Syrian leader in a "binary choice" between him or Islamic State governing the country, which has experienced nearly six years of civil war. She said she spoke to Hariri about the need for countries to discuss fighting Islamic State together.

Le Pen's visit comes nine weeks before a French election in which she is among the leading candidates competing with conservative Francois Fillon for the presidency. She also met Lebanon's President Michel Aoun during her visit.

Lebanon and France have historic links. Many Lebanese fled to France, Lebanon's former colonial power, during their country's 1975-1990 civil war and became French citizens. A Lebanese source said Le Pen's visit may be aimed partly at winning their votes ahead of the election.

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