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Building bridges.

Summary: Prime Minister Saad Hariri has embarked on a landmark visit to France, the latest example of the premier's bridge-building and diplomatic efforts.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri has embarked on a landmark visit to France, the latest example of the premier's bridge-building and diplomatic efforts.

In France, Hariri has the task of renewing and maintaining contacts at the highest level with a country that has been a long-standing friend and supporter of Lebanon.

Only Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron described the ties as "historic relations," and this is true whoever is in power.

To the agenda, Hariri brings two matters of great importance. First is the supply of sophisticated and advanced equipment to the Army, to help it safeguard Lebanon, the region and the world.

Second is support for Lebanon in its efforts to assists some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, especially in providing education and health care to those who desperately need it.

The visit is a reflection of the fine statesmanship Hariri practices, which will be repeated once again in two weeks' time as he makes a trip to Moscow.

In Russia, too, he will be fostering contacts and understanding, and briefing the increasingly influential power on how it can help Lebanon through these difficult times.

There is much optimism surrounding both visits, from all sides, as can be seen by Macron's kind and enthusiastic words about Lebanon in his important foreign policy speech Tuesday. And so there should be. Hariri leads delegations including representatives of the most important ministries and government departments to two of the world's leading countries.

If this doesn't show the many glory-seeking politicians in Lebanon who specialize in skepticism and negativity that they should change tack, then the fruits of Hariri's delegation surely will.

The naysayers and limelight-seekers should look at the good that positive politics and statesmanship can do for the Lebanese, and for once abandon their politicking games.

In France, Hariri has the task of renewing and maintaining contacts at the highest level with a country that has been a long-standing friend and supporter of Lebanon.

Only Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron described the ties as "historic relations," and this is true whoever is in power.

To the agenda, Hariri brings two matters of great importance. First is the supply of sophisticated and advanced equipment to the Army, to help it safeguard Lebanon, the region and the world.

Second is support for Lebanon in its efforts to assist some 1.5 million Syrian refugees, especially in providing education and health care to those who desperately need it.

The visit is a reflection of the fine statesmanship Hariri practices, which will be repeated once again in two weeks' time as he makes a trip to Moscow.

In Russia, too, he will be fostering contacts and understanding, and briefing the increasingly influential power on how it can help Lebanon through these difficult times.

There is much optimism surrounding both visits, from all sides, as can be seen by Macron's kind and enthusiastic words about Lebanon in his important foreign policy speech Tuesday. And so there should be. Hariri leads delegations including representatives of the most important ministries and government departments to two of the world's leading countries.

If this doesn't show the many glory-seeking politicians in Lebanon who specialize in skepticism and negativity that they should change tack, then the fruits of Hariri's delegation surely will.

The naysayers and limelight-seekers should look at the good that positive politics and statesmanship can do for the Lebanese, and for once abandon their politicking games.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Aug 31, 2017
Words:605
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