FM: Iran-Lebanon cooperation not against 3rd countries

Beirut, Feb 11, IRNA - Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif says Iran-Lebanon cooperation will not be against interest of a third country.

'Iran-Lebanon cooperation will not be against anybody, rather being to the interest of all, especially nations of both sides,' Zarif made the remarks in a joint press conference with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut on Monday.

He said, 'On the anniversary of victory of Islamic Revolution, which made us rely on ourselves, it is an honor for me to visit a country that has been capable of relying on its nation.'

Zarif is on a two-day official visit to Lebanon to meet senior Lebanese officials.

Congratulating Lebanon on new government formation, Zarif hoped that the development will cause changes in the status of the Lebanese nation, government and officials.

He said it is an honor for Iran to support the Lebanese people.

In reponse to a question on the possibility of Iran's military assistance to Lebanon, Zarif said, 'We are ready to extend hand of cooperation to Lebanese friends in any field they are ready. Iran does not insist on cooperating with Lebanon in a specific domain.'

He said the Iranian and Lebanese public and private sectors are well ready for extensive economic cooperation.

Zarif noted that Iran will send an economic delegation to Lebanon to find out ways for more cooperation as Tehran is ready to host similar delegation from Lebanon.

He went on to say Iran has never been interfering in Lebanon's civil affairs and the officials and people of the country are well aware how to solve their problems.

Zarif also thanked Lebanon for not taking part in Warsaw meeting.

On regional issues, Zarif said the most principled problem and danger in the region are Zionist regime's invasion and occupation. 'We should not let others cause artificial dangers to make the main danger forgotten.'

To a question on Syria, Zarif said he and his Lebanese counterpart had discussed Syria developments.

He noted that there were 'good' talks on Syria, trying to find a political solution based on Astana and Sochi models. 'We believe Syrian people should find the key to Syria problems and we foreigners should just facilitate the process and not to decide for them.'

The Iranian foreign minister emphasized that any solution in Syria should respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, resulting in exit of all foreign forces that are illegally present in Syria. 'Safe and respectful return of the Syrian refugees to their country is one of the main pivots of solution to problems in Syria.'

Commenting on Saudi envoy's upcoming visit to Lebanon, Zarif said Iran has always been welcoming expansion of Lebanon's relations with Arab countries and there is no impediment in the way.

Asked about the status of Lebanese-American citizen Nazar Zaka who is detained in Iran on charges of espionage, he said the Iranian Judiciary is independent, but the Iranian government will do its best within human dimension.

As for Iran-Lebanon economic relations despite the US' unilateral sanctions, he said no international law will prevent economic cooperation between the two countries.

Referring to the UN Security Council resolution 2231, Zarif said the resolution will make no restriction for free economic relations of countries with Iran, rather it's the US that violates the resolution and asks others not to have economic relations with Iran.

Thus far, Zarif has had meetings with Lebanese president, parliament speaker and foreign minister and will tonight meet with prime minister of the country.

He will attend celebrations at Iran Embassy in Beirut tonight in commemoration of the 40th victory anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran.

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