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    Newly elected Lebanese president Michel Aoun sits on the president's chair inside the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon October 31, 2016

    French Lawmakers to Meet With Lebanon Leader After Spending Christmas in Aleppo

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    French National Assembly members are expected to meet with Lebanon’s recently elected President Michel Aoun in Beirut after spending Orthodox Christmas in Syria, organizer of the trip Thierry Mariani, who is a member of The Republicans (LR) party, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Three French lawmakers are departing on a humanitarian visit to Syria to spend the Orthodox Christmas weekend with Syrian Christians in Aleppo. The trip will take place on January 5-10, during which meetings with Syria's President Bashar Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Moualem are planned.

    "We also will meet in Beirut with President Michel Aoun," Mariani, a former French Transport Minister, said, adding that the meeting will take place on way back to Paris.

    Aside from Mariani, the delegation consists of two other members of France’s parliament, namely Nicolas Dhuicq of the Aube department and Jean Lasalle of the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department.

    Aoun, a former Lebanese army commander, was picked by Lebanese lawmakers to become the new president of the Middle Eastern republic on October 31, 2016. Aoun's election ended a power vacuum that lasted for over two years since former President Michel Suleiman's term expired in 2014 and a rift between political forces emerged.

    The president in Lebanon is always chosen from Christian candidates, according to an unwritten agreement, which also stipulates that the prime minister must always be a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of the parliament must be a Shiite.

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    Thierry Mariani, Michel Aoun, Aleppo, Lebanon, France
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