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Hariri receives Zarif and UNRWA commissioner

The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received this evening at the Grand Serail the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, accompanied by Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Jalal Firouznia, in the presence of former ministers Ghattas Khoury and Bassem Sabeh.

The meeting focused on the local and regional situation as well as the bilateral relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, Minister Zarif conveyed the congratulations of the Iranian president on the formation of the Lebanese government, expressing Iran's wishes to the government to succeed in its revival program and Iran's readiness to help Lebanon in the areas that the Lebanese government will define.

Prime Minister Hariri thanked Minister Zarif, stressing that the government is embarking on its program based on the interest of the Lebanese people and Lebanon's supreme interests, pointing out Lebanon's respect for its commitments to the Arab and international communities.

The discussion also focused on the situation in the region, especially the issue of Syrian displacement and the means to achieve a safe and dignified return for the displaced in Lebanon.

At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Hariri inquired about the Iranian government's response to his demand to release the Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka, who is detained in Iran, stressing that this issue must be solved, which would constitute a positive gesture towards the Zakka family and the Lebanese people in general. Minister Zarif promised to follow up the issue.

Hariri also received UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre KrA�henbuhl, in the presence of the Chairman of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee Hassan Mneimne.

After the meeting, KrA�henbuhl said: It was a big honor to meet with the prime minister. I congratulated him on the formation of the government but also on the fact that in the government's statement there is a specific reference to UNRWA and the commitment by the government to be supportive of our efforts in fundraising and our activities. I gave the Prime Minister an update on UNRWA's financial situation and our efforts last year to overcome the critical shortfall that was created by the United states and their decision to cut funding to UNRWA and how we are going to go about our strategy this year.

It was an extremely positive meeting and I thank the Prime Minister for all his support. We spoke about specific issues related to the work in Nahr el Bared and throughout Lebanon and I told him that we remain very committed to our services to Palestinian Refugees.

Hariri also received the Minister of State for the social and economic rehabilitation of youth and women Violet Khairallah Safadi, who said that she informed Prime Minister Hariri of the strategy she is preparing for the ministry and which she intends to launch under his auspices from the Grand Serail in a few weeks.

Hariri also met with the Minister of Economy and Trade Mansour Bteich and discussed with him economic affairs.

Source: National News Agency