Q : A Lebanese politician and friend of France, Saad Hariri, the leader of the Future Movement party, announced his withdrawal from public life. In announcing his departure, the former Prime Minister leaves in his wake a disheartened country in a state of financial collapse. As a friend of Lebanon, France helped Mr. Hariri when he was held against his will in the Saudi capital. What is your reaction this time?
A : Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, with whom we have maintained regular contact, has announced his withdrawal from Lebanese politics, a field in which he had played a central role. This was his decision; we respect it and it is not up to us to comment on it. It should not impact the need to hold Lebanese legislative elections as scheduled on May 15 – elections that must be both transparent and impartial. The priority is for Lebanon’s leaders to implement the reforms required to restore the Lebanese people’s living standards and end the crisis. France, for its part, remains determined – together with all of its international and regional partners – to stand by the Lebanese people.