BEIRUT (AFP) – French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner began his visit to Beirut at the weekend by crashing a wedding party and dancing the dabke, or traditional Lebanese dance, with the bridal couple. Kouchner was dining at a fish restaurant in the Lebanese capital with friends and decided to pay a visit late Friday to the bridal party next door where he stayed for about 20 minutes.

He was pictured on the front-page of a Lebanese paper on Saturday clapping and smiling from ear-to-ear as the bride belly-danced before about 500 guests."He is a bon-vivant and he was very happy to spend a little time at the wedding," Kamel Mohanna, a doctor and close friend of Kouchner’s who was dining with the minister and knew the bridal couple, told AFP.

Kouchner on Saturday also raised eyebrows as he mused about birds during a press conference with his Italian and Spanish counterparts at the UN headquarters in Naqura, southern Lebanon."Well we were talking about the birds there, the birds looking for asylum, searching for asylum and we didn’t know whether they were storks or pelicans or something else but it was a very good signal, sort of a very symbolic signal," he said.The three ministers are in Lebanon on a brief trip to try and break a long-running political crisis that is blocking the election of a president.