Le Drian Meets Hariri at Pine Residence

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Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri met the visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Pine Residence in Beirut on Thursday evening, Hariri’s press office announced in a statement.

There were no clear reports whether Le Drian, who met President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri earlier in the day, intended to meet Hariri.

Le Drian had warned Lebanese officials that France would impose additional measures targeting those obstructing the formation of a new government in the crises-hit Mideast nation.

Tweeting ahead of his arrival in Beirut, Jean-Yves Le Drian said French travel restrictions on Lebanese officials suspected of corruption or hindering the formation of the Cabinet were “just the start.”

Le Drian met separately with Aoun on Thursday, as well as Berri. He did not speak to reporters following his meetings.

“I will be in Lebanon tomorrow with a message of great firmness to political leaders and a message of our complete solidarity to the Lebanese,” Le Drian tweeted earlier. “”Firmness in the face of those hindering the formation of a government: we have taken national action, and this is just the start.”

Last week, Le Drian said France will start to put in place measures restricting access to French territory for Lebanese officials implicated in the political blockage or corruption. He did not name any of those targeted or say how many officials there are. The Foreign Ministry did not release details of what the restrictions entail.

The move stops short of sanctions for now, but Le Drian said more could come later.

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