French PM visits Beirut, holds talks with Lebanese leaders

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon arrived in Beirut on Thursday for a two-day visit that is expected to expand economic and trade cooperation between Lebanon and France. Fillon met with President Michel Suleiman before holding talks with Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, Lebanon's official news agency said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the first Western head of state to visit Lebanon and meet Suleiman in June shortly after his election as a compromise president following a political crisis that nearly plunged Lebanon into a new civil war.