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President Michel Suleiman received Thursday a letter from Nicolas Sarkozy expressing interest in further strengthening the relations between Lebanon and France.

Sarkozy is due to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday en route to Washington, after he received a last-minute invitation for talks with US President Barack Obama.

In Paris, Netanyahu will formally accept an invitation for Israel to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based group of 30 developed world nations.

According to sources, Sarkozy’s letter to Suleiman discussed the excellent bilateral ties between the two countries, and the means of fortifying them at all levels and in all fields, in addition to coordinating stances regarding a number of issues facing the region.

Sarkozy’s letter also tackled a plan to organize a joint exhibition — to be held sequentially in Beirut and Paris in the fall of 2011 — and the preparatory steps undertaken by the Arab World Institute (AWI).

The Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) or Arab World Institute (AWI), in English, was established in 1980 in Paris, when 18 Arab countries concluded an agreement with France to establish the Institute to disseminate information about the Arab world and set in motion detailed research to cover Arabic and the Arab world’s cultural and spiritual values.

The Institute also aims at promoting cooperation and cultural exchanges between France and the Arab world, particularly in the areas of science and technology, thus contributing to development of relations between the Arab world and Europe. Libya joined the agreement in 1984.

Naharnet & Now Lebanon

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