French, Syrian FMs meet on Lebanon

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French, Syrian FMs meet on Lebanon

Post by Admin on Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:27 pm

French
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner met Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem
in Kuwait on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Lebanon, the first such
meeting since Paris suspended high-level contacts with Damascus in
December.


The
talks covered "the situation in Lebanon," Kouchner said after the
meeting in Kuwait on the sidelines of a conference on Iraq.


Lebanon
has been without a president for five months amid deadlock between the
Western-backed cabinet and the Syrian- and Iranian-backed opposition.


French
President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered normal contacts with Syria broken off
in December, accusing Damascus of failing to match its words about
wanting a settlement to the crisis in Lebanon with deeds on the ground.


Kouchner
had last met with Muallem in Turkey in November during another
conference on Iraq among neighbouring countries and world powers.


The
French chief diplomat was deeply involved in attempts to resolve the
Lebanese crisis last year, visiting the country seven times.


Kouchner's aides cautioned against expecting concrete results from Tuesday's meeting.

"You
must talk to everyone, including those with whom you disagree, so that
there is no misunderstanding," said a diplomat with the French
delegation in Kuwait.


"We
have a real disagreement with the Syrians. We talk to them without
having illusions, and while maintaining a distance," he said.


Kouchner
met Muallem ahead of a meeting on Lebanon that was due to be held on
the sidelines of the Iraq conference later Tuesday. Syria was not
invited to that meeting.



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