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French diplomat in Beirut to prepare Paris meeting

US, Saudi, Qatari and Egyptian representatives on Monday

03 February, 16:32

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 3 - France is preparing to host another meeting on Lebanon.

    On Monday, US, Saudi, Qatari and Egyptian representatives will also be taking part in the Paris meeting.

    Pierre Duquesne, the French diplomat tasked with coordinating international aid to Lebanon amid efforts to shore up the country's contested elites, was engaged in talks in Beirut as part of the preparations.

    Duquesne began a two-day visit to Lebanon Thursday "as part of a mission for France to support the recovery of the Lebanese energy sector and follow up on the Egyptian and Jordanian energy deals," according to a press release from the French embassy.

    Lebanese media reported that Duquesne had assured outgoing prime minister Najib Miqati that he would be travelling to Washington DC to discuss with the US how to exempt Lebanon from sanctions imposed on neighbouring Syria.

    The sanctions block in a de facto manner an energy agreement officially funded by the World Bank that provides for the supply of Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity through Syrian to Lebanon's suffering energy system.

    Lebanon has been in a state of financial default for three years.

    Prior to arriving on Thursday in Beirut, the French diplomat travelled to Egypt and Jordan, two key players in the energy accord reached last year.

    Duquesne then urged the Lebanese authorities to start long-awaited structural reforms to unblock three billion dollars in aid over a four-year period pledged by the International Monetary Fund.(ANSAmed).

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