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Sarkozy from Moukhtara: Lebanon barometer of Orient

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblat met on Tuesday with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the former's Moukhtara residence, in presence of MP Taymour Joumblat, officials, and members of the Democratic Gathering.

Joumblat paid tribute to his visitor, lauding in a speech the privileged relations between Mukhtara and France for over a century.

Sarkozy, for his part, offered his condolences to his host and the Druze community for the victims of the attack on Druze citizens in Soueida, Syria.

"Lebanon is different from other countries; it is a symbol of culture, tolerance and diversity -- a diversity that has enriched the Orient for many years, if not centuries," he said.

Pluralism should be preserved as the most expensive value for Lebanon, he added.

"Indeed, religious diversity is the fortune of Lebanon and the East, and those who want to destroy diversity, hope to destroy democracy and hope," he maintained.

He asserted that Lebanon was tantamount to the "barometer of the of the entire Easter region". "When Lebanon enjoys peace, the whole East will enjoy it, and if Lebanon is at war, if it suffers, and is not respected, all the East will bear the repercussions," he explained.

Sarkozy also stressed the fact that France, which has always supported Lebanon, would maintain this support, whatever the circumstances.

"Lebanon has the right, like its counterparts, to be independent, free and respected while enjoying peace," he concluded.

Source: National News Agency