Machnouk announces French plans for Paris IV conference.
Summary: France is preparing to host a fourth donor conference to help provide Lebanon with financial and moral support, caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk claimed Monday.
BEIRUT: France is preparing to host a fourth donor conference to help provide Lebanon with financial and moral support, caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk claimed Monday.
Machnouk, following the opening of a new civil registry office in Beirut, said the idea of a Paris IV conference was recently relayed to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri by French officials.
The caretaker minister gave no other details of the proposed conference, but signaled that the move would be aimed at bolstering Lebanon's government following the election of President Michel Aoun and his appointment of Hariri as premier last week.
"The news which gave me joy as it will for the Lebanese people is that the French officials have begun talks to host a Paris IV conference to gain financial support from all the countries that attended the previous Paris I, II and III conferences," Machnouk said following the meeting.
He added that the conference was also meant to give moral support to the newly elected president, prime minister and the yet-to-be-formed government. "God willing, the new government will improve all state institutions and the Interior Ministry should be a large part of this," Machnouk said.
When contacted by The Daily Star for details or comment, the French Embassy, UNHCR nor the U.N. resident coordinators office could confirm that the conference was taking place or any further details about Machnouk's comments. The office of the U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Daily Star Monday evening.
Regarding Aoun's recent election, Machnouk called on the Lebanese to admit that Aoun unites the country. "It is imperative to admit that Gen. Aoun is the president who unites all of us, and he is not the president of his movement only," Machnouk said.
The caretaker minister also echoed Hariri and caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil's calls Monday to re-establish positive ties with the Arab League of Nations.
"The commitment to the Arab League of Nations is necessary, especially Article 8 which rejects the interference of any Arab nation in another," Machnouk added.
The latest Paris donor conference, Paris III, was held in January 2007. It resulted in $7.6 billion in pledges for Lebanon, which was still reeling from the 34-day with Israel the year prior.
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