French PM to show solidarity in Beirut

France offers to send troops to support Lebanon

July 17, 2006 10:35
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France sent Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to Beirut on Monday to express support for Lebanon, President Jacques Chirac's office said. The prime minister was set to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora to express French support for and solidarity with the Lebanese, Chirac's office said in a statement. The French premier has said his country proposes a monitoring mission to help Lebanese government spread its authority on its territory. On Friday, President Jacques Chirac said that the IDF's actions in Lebanon were "totally disproportionate" and asked whether destroying Lebanon was not the ultimate goal. "One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication," Chirac said during an interview in the garden of the presidential Elysee Palace to mark Bastille Day, the French national holiday. However, Chirac said that he believed another country - likely Syria - was behind the actions of the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah. "I have the feeling, if not the conviction, that Hamas and Hezbollah wouldn't have taken the initiatives alone," Chirac said. "There is, without any doubt, an action which must be discussed with Syria," the French president said.

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