France and Lebanon

Presentation

Political relations

France is one of Lebanon’s leading European political partners, as shown by the intense political bilateral relations (visits, including that of the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, on 16 and 17 April 2016) and France’s constant support for resolutions upholding Lebanon’s sovereignty at the United Nations. France supports the stability, unity, independence and sovereignty of Lebanon.

Visits

Visits to France

  • 10 February 2012: visit by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Najib Mikati
  • 12 July 2012: visit by the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Sleiman
  • 19-21 November 2012: visit by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Najib Mikati
  • 8-9 April 2013: visit by the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal, Bechara Rai
  • 6-8 September 2013: visit by the President of Lebanon, Michel Sleiman
  • 26 November 2013: visit by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Najib Mikati
  • 4-6 March 2014: in the context of the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG), visit by a Lebanese delegation consisting of the President of the Lebanese Republic, Michel Sleiman, the Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, the Defence Minister, Samir Mokbel, and the Social Affairs Minister, Rachid Derbas
  • 25-28 April 2013: visit by the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal, Bechara Rai
  • 21-23 July 2015: visit by Lebanon’s Minister of the Interior, Nohad Machnouk
  • 3 April 2017: visit by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri
  • 20-22 June 2017: visit by Lebanon’s Minister of Culture, Ghattas Khoury
  • 31 August 2017: visit by Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Mr Saad Hariri
  • 25-27 November 2017: State visit by President Michel Aoun

Visits to Lebanon

  • June 2012: visit by the Minister Delegate for Francophonie, Yamina Benguigui
  • August 2012: visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius
  • September 2012: visit by the Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian
  • October 2012: visit by the Minister Delegate for Francophonie, Yamina Benguigui
  • 4 November 2012: visit by the French President, François Hollande
  • 1 October 2013: visit by the Minister Delegate for French Nationals Abroad, Hélène Conway-Mouret
  • 14 October 2013: visit by the Minister Delegate for Veterans, Kader Arif
  • 25-29 September 2014: visit by the Minister for Decentralization and the Civil Service, Marylise Lebranchu
  • 21-23 March 2015: visit by the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Annick Girardin
  • 20-21 April 2015: visit by the Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
  • 22-24 October 2015: visit by the President of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher.
  • 26 October 2015: visit by the Minister of the Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve.
  • 21-22 January 2016: visit by the Minister of State for Veterans and Remembrance, Jean-Marc Todeschini.
  • 16-17 April 2016: visit by the President of the French Republic, François Hollande
  • 11-12 July 2016: visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault
  • 28-29 September 2016: visit by the Minister of State for Foreign Trade, the Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad, Matthias Fekl
  • 3-5 November 2016: visit by the Minister of Culture and Communication, Audrey Azoulay
  • 21-22 December 2016: visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Marc Ayrault
  • 9-12 February 2017: visit by the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Marisol Touraine
  • 6-7 March 2017: visit by the Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian
  • 19-21 March 2017: visit by the Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Jean-Marie Le Guen

For more information, consult https://lb.ambafrance.org/-Visites-bilaterales-195-

Economic relations

France, together with China, Italy, Germany and the United States, is one of Lebanon’s main suppliers. Almost 4,500 French companies exported to Lebanon in 2015, 21% of which were micro-enterprises, 48% SMEs, 24% mid-size companies and 7% large companies. Exports from France to Lebanon totalled €998 million in 2015, with imports at €54 million.

The stock of direct French investment in Lebanon reached a record €534 million at the end of 2014. The stock of Lebanese investment in France has been growing since the end of 2009: it had reached €3 billion by late 2015 and accounted for 45% of the stock of foreign direct investment for Middle Eastern countries in France.

Almost 100 French companies are present in Lebanon, in a variety of sectors including agri-food, telecommunications, retail, the oil industry and financial services.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Our policy of cooperation and development in Lebanon has five main objectives: consolidating the rule of law, economic and social development, environmental and heritage protection, university and research cooperation, cultural exchanges and debate.

The French language is still widely used in Lebanon despite the growing use of English in business and the media and the fact that both languages increasingly co-exist in education.

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) has been present in Lebanon since 1999 and has signed 27 financing agreements there worth a cumulative €1.167 billion, comprising €875 million in budgetary assistance and €292 million in project assistance. It has four main objectives: support for vulnerable populations, equitable access to quality health care and education services, strengthening of the private sector and support for the development of sustainable cities. It is seeking to promote the synergy and complementarity of French cooperation tools and to promote French expertise in implementing its activities.

For more information:

Security cooperation

There is extensive bilateral cooperation in the fields of internal security and civil defence, and in the military field. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) remain a mainstay of the nation and have the support of the entire population. France helps strengthen the LAF by assisting them in carrying out their missions throughout Lebanon, including in the area under UNIFIL jurisdiction, where the Lebanese Army will gradually have to take over all United Nations missions, in accordance with resolution 1701. The French contingent is, moreover, one of the largest among the UN blue helmets present in Lebanon.

Assistance in addressing the consequences of the Syrian crisis

France stands beside Lebanon in the face of the humanitarian crisis. France’s assistance to Lebanon from 2012 to 2016 stood at €105 million, more than a third of our assistance relating to the Syrian crisis. During the London Conference in February 2016, France announced that it would assist the region in the form of grants worth €200 million over the period 2016-2018. In April 2016, the President of the French Republic announced that €100 million would be allocated to Lebanon.

Updated: September 2017

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