Zarif Holds Talks with Lebanon's Top Officials

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Zarif Holds Talks with Lebanon's Top Officials

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif on Monday kicked off his meetings with Lebanon's top officials, one day after he arrived in Beirut on a two-day visit.

Zarif met first with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace, with the latter voicing appreciation of Iran's continuous support and offer to provide assistance to the country at all levels.

Upon his arrival in Beirut on Sunday, Zarif said that his country is ready to cooperate with the new Lebanese government and that it is waiting for Lebanon to show a desire to accept its military assistance, a few days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah offered to play a mediation role by asking Iran to supply the Lebanese military with weapons and aerial defense systems to confront Israeli warplanes.

During the meeting, Aoun stressed that Iran has a key role to play in returning the Syrian refugees back to their country, reiterating the tremendous repercussions that their presence is afflicting on Lebanon's economy, society and security.

"The new government will accord a paramount importance to the Syrian refugees file," Aoun said.

For his part, Zarif relayed the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's invite for Aoun to visit Tehran.

Later, Zarif held separate talks with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.

In a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Bassil announced that Lebanon will not take part in the Warsaw Conference, explaining that it will boycott the meeting because Israel is part of it and because of the direction that said conference will take.

Zarif  also met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri later at the Grand Serail.