Takieddine visits Damas to present ‘the position of France’
From January 2008, arms dealer and businessman Ziad Takieddine took on the role of unofficial spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy in contacts with the Syrians. In a report on his meeting held with Syrian officials during a visit to Damascus on January 1st 2008, Takieddine wrote that the object of his visit could be "summed up" as intending "to signify to Syrian officials the bitterness of President Sarkozy regarding the failure of successive initiatives begun by France. This bitterness is as strong as the hopes and confidence the President had had in Syria’s credibility." His report makes clear that Takieddine speaks in Sarkozy’s name: "President Sarkozy would like there to be no ambiguity. He absolutely wants a President of the Republic of Lebanon to be elected. He would like to elect [sic] a consensual President chosen by all the Lebanese. He also hopes that this President of the Republic could be a man of stature and a man without animosity towards Syria, who would be approved by the Syrians and their allies." He then commented: "This is the position of France".
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