French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming visit to Lebanon has been a major talking point ever since he announced it earlier this month. Now, four days before his scheduled arrival, Macron’s office has made a surprising announcement.
When the French President arrives in Beirut on September 1st, he is expected to meet Lebanon’s top officials in order to follow-up on their progress in terms of reforms, as he said he would do a few weeks back.
According to the Elysee, “The Jewel of Lebanon” is at the top of Macron’s list of visitees next Tuesday.
Fairouz, who needs no introduction, has long been a staple of the music industry, not just in her homeland but also in the entire region. Her classic songs have traveled with the Lebanese wherever they’ve gone across the world.
However, as celebrated as her appearances are, she is known to keep to herself outside of her performances. Today, it is unclear whether the 85-year-old will agree to make the acquaintance of France’s top politician.
As to why Macron has chosen to visit Fairouz in this seemingly untimely manner, the reason is clear, an Elysee source told The Daily Star.
By meeting with such a “larger-than-life” figure who is widely-loved by people across the Lebanese nation, Macron hopes to “push for the conditions to be met for the formation of a government that is capable of carrying out reconstruction and reforms.”
The President’s visit to Lebanon comes in a time when the country is facing the threat of “disappearing,” in the words of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.