Abbas to meet with Sarkozy in Paris next week

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will meet with his newly elected French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, in Paris on June 18, a senior Palestinian official said Monday. Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azzam al-Ahmed said the meeting is an affirmation of the French-Palestinian friendship. The Palestinians hope France, under Sarkozy, will continue to push for a fair solution of the Palestinian problem, al-Ahmed said. Abbas and Sarkozy are expected to discuss, among other things, the recent fighting between the Lebanese army and al-Qaida-inspired gunmen in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. France, a former colonial power, continues to wield influence in Lebanon.