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The Latest: Lebanese leaders congratulate Macron


The Latest on the French presidential election (all times local) :
PARIS (AP) – The Latest on the French presidential election (all times local) : 3: 55 p.m. Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, has congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election victory and says Beirut and Paris will continue to work for peace and stability in the Middle East. Aoun said that Macron’s victory shows French citizens’ commitment “to the values of freedom, equality and brotherhood.” Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri also congratulated Macron saying “you will find in me a partner keen to echo our common values.” France, Lebanon’s one-time colonial ruler, still enjoys wide influence in the country. Hundreds of French peacekeepers are deployed near the border with Israel. ___ 3: 20 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “very happy” that Emmanuel Macron has won the presidential election in France. Speaking at a party event Monday in Berlin, Merkel said Macron bears the hopes of many Europeans. She pledged to continue Germany’s close cooperation with France. But she appeared cautious about proposals to support Macron’s economic reform plans either by relaxing European spending rules or with a dedicated stimulus fund. Merkel told reporters that “we should wait to see what ideas and wishes the new president expresses.” She says the economic policies Berlin advocates for Europe had worked well for Germany and added: “German support can’t replace French policies.” Merkel is due to meet outgoing French President Francois Hollande late Monday. ___ 2: 00 p.m. British Prime Minister Theresa May says the election of Emmanuel Macron makes it even more important for voters to back her and strengthen Britain’s hand in EU exit talks. May says Macron “was elected with a strong mandate which he can take with him as a strong position in the negotiations.” May has called a snap election for June 8, arguing that her Conservatives need a bigger majority in order to stand firm against – and strike deals with – the EU. She dismisses chances Macron will scrap an agreement that lets British border formalities take place on French soil in Calais – and keep migrants there. Macron has said he will put the deal back on the table. May said Monday that she will argue the agreement “works for the benefit of both the U. K. and France.” ___ 1: 45 p.m. The founder of Italy’s main populist party has expressed cautious hope that new French President-elect Emmanuel Macron will safeguard the French people. Comic Beppe Grillo, who leads the 5-Star Movement, noted in his blog Monday that Macron is the first president not to come from France’s two main traditional parties. Grillo says that gives him some cautious hope for Macron’s success, especially since “the social state in France is more consolidated and corruption is less widespread” than in Italy. Grillo calls it a “real pity that the aversion to globalization’s disasters, in France, was absorbed by the very hard-to-digest Marine Le Pen.” Macron handily beat Le Pen in Sunday’s French presidential runoff. ___ 1: 10 p.m. The German government says the pro-European course struck by French President-elect Emmanuel Macron during his election campaign bodes well for future Franco-German cooperation. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that “Macron carries the hopes of many millions of people in France, that’s very clear.” He told reporters in Berlin that Macron also “carries the hopes of many people in Germany and many people across Europe as a whole.” While Macron’s victory has come as a relief for Chancellor Angela Merkel, it also puts pressure on Germany to make concessions on the austerity measures it has demanded of others in the Europe Union. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, is calling for public investment to support economic reforms Macron plans to undertake in France. ___ 12: 48 p.m. Syria says it respects the choice of the French people after Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election, but expects no change the European nation’s policy toward Damascus. France has been one of the harshest critics of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the country’s crisis began in March 2011. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told reporters Monday that Damascus does not count on any European role or on any French role. He said: “The only European role we see is a sabotage role that backs terrorists and follows the United State of America.” ___ 11: 50 a.m. European stock markets have edged down in early trading as investors had been widely expecting Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election. Though Macron’s victory is considered positive for the region’s economy and the euro, stocks had risen strongly in the previous two weeks on expectations of his win. France’s CAC 40 index, which last week touched the highest level since early 2008, slipped 0.8 percent to 5,391 on Monday. Germany’s DAX was down 0.3 percent at 12,683 and Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent at 7,301. The euro, which had risen Sunday night in the wake of the news of Macron’s victory, edged back down 0.5 percent to $1.0943. Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said that, “With markets having rallied throughout last week in expectation of a Macron win, there was little upside left for equities and the euro.” ___ 11: 45 a.m. French President Francois Hollande says his successor Emmanuel Macron’s inauguration will be Sunday. The president said the transfer of power would take place just a week after Macron’s election as the youngest president in modern France. The two men appeared together in public for the first time since Macron quit his job as economy minister last August. ___ 11: 25 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Emmanuel Macron on winning France’s presidential election and is calling on him to “overcome mutual mistrust and unite to ensure international stability and security.” In a message posted Monday on the Kremlin website, Putin said: “The citizens of France have entrusted you to lead the country in a period that is difficult for Europe and for all of world society. The growing threat of terrorism and militant extremism is accompanied by an escalation of local conflicts and the destabilization of entire regions.” The Kremlin said Putin told Macron that he is ready to cooperate on bilateral, regional and global issues. France has come down against Russia over Putin’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russia’s role in the fighting in Ukraine. Defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen had called for strengthening ties with Russia, while Macron is believed to be more likely to keep up the pressure. ___ 11: 10 a.m. French President-elect Emmanuel Macron is appearing by the side of the man he is succeeding as the country commemorates the end of World War II. It was Macron’s first public appearance with President Francois Hollande since Macron resigned as economy minister in August to run for office. Facing massive unpopularity, Hollande decided against seeking a second term. At Monday’s ceremony on the Champs-Elysees, Hollande approached Macron and gripped him by the shoulder before the two men walked beneath the Arc de Triomphe. Macron won a decisive victory against far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Sunday and is preparing to take office in coming days. ___ 10: 30 a.m. Russia’s Interfax news agency is reporting that President Vladimir Putin is asking Emmanuel Macron to “overcome mutual mistrust and unite” for international stability and security. According to the report, Putin says he is ready to cooperate constructively on a range of issues. France has come down against Russia over Putin’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Russia’s role in the fighting in Ukraine.

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