French President Macron welcomes Lebanon’s Hariri to Elysee Palace

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, welcomes Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Elysee Presidential Palace on November 18. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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French President Macron welcomes Lebanon’s Hariri to Elysee Palace

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Saad Hariri for talks Saturday, an AFP reporter said, hours after the Lebanese premier arrived from Saudi Arabia in the midst of a political crisis.
Hariri, who made a resignation announcement on November 4 and has since fended off claims he was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will, was also due to have lunch with Macron.
Macron has been attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon’s fragile democracy.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has refused to accept Hariri’s resignation while he remains abroad, and Macron said ahead of the talks that he would be welcomed “with the honors due to a prime minister.”
Aoun said on Saturday that he had spoken by telephone to the premier after his arrival in Paris, and that Hariri said he would be back in Lebanon for Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday.
VIDEO: Saad Hariri and his family meet French President Macron at Elysee
 


Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

Updated 20 July 2019
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Iraqi forces launch anti-Daesh operation north of Baghdad

  • The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh
  • This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory”

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s military said Saturday its troops in partnership with security agencies and paramilitary forces launched the second phase of an operation aimed at clearing remnants of the Daesh group from north of Baghdad and surrounding areas.
This is the second phase of the operation dubbed “Will to Victory,” which started two weeks earlier and targeted the area along the border with Syria. The military said the new target area is north of Baghdad and in the Diyala, Salahuddin and Anbar provinces.
Although Iraq declared victory against Daesh in July 2017, the extremists have turned into an insurgency and continue to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
The military said Iraqi troops, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the federal police and others are taking part in the operation supported by the Iraqis and the U.S-led international coalition.
On Saturday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi visited the operation room alongside the deputy head of the PMF, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.
Earlier this month, the Iraqi government moved to place the Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces. The move was believed to be an attempt to curb the powerful militias, particularly amid rising tension between Iran and the US, the power brokers in Iraq.
The mainly Shiite PMF have been an effective force against Daesh and are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament.