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Hariri sends message to Rouhani demanding release of Zakka

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri received today at the Center House the Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Emmanuelle Lamoureux, in the presence of World Bank regional director Saroj Kumar Jha and the vice-president of the National Commission for Lebanese Women Abir Chbaro.

After the meeting, Ambassador Lamoureux said: "The regional director of the World Bank and myself just had a very fruitful meeting with Prime Minister Hariri to discuss the Mashreq Conference on Women's Economic Empowerment which will take place this Saturday in Beirut and will bring together representatives of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon along with private sector and civil society representatives. We think the conference will be an opportunity to support the increased engagement of women in the economy of these three countries. We are delighted that Prime Minister Hariri is playing such a leadership role with respect to this issue and the conference. There will be some announcements and some country demonstrations of support for an increased role for women in the economies of these three countries, which we think can make a true difference in terms of the economic growth and the economic situation in the Mashreq region."

Earlier, he met with the Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad-Jalal Firouznia.

During the meeting, Hariri handed the Iranian ambassador a message addressed to the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanding the release of the Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka, detained in Iran.

After the meeting, Firouznia said: "It was a very good opportunity that brought us together with Premier Hariri. We talked about the bilateral relations and the regional developments. We support all efforts to accelerate the formation of the Lebanese government headed by Premier Hariri and hope that it will be formed as soon as possible. We, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, are always ready to fortify the bilateral relations with the Lebanese republic on all political, economic and security levels. We always cooperated with the Lebanese State and will continue this cooperation to reinforce stability and security in this country.

Regarding the regional developments, the United States of America wants to promote itself as a state that cares about the interests of this region and its peoples, but no one believes this. It always claimed that it is keen on the security, stability, and prosperity of this region, but this theoretical position contradicts the practical behavior, especially the behavior of the current US administration, which has violated many of its international commitments. This administration only seeks, on the regional and international levels, to achieve its commercial, economic and financial goals. The best proof that the Americans do not care about the interests of this region and its people is the complete American support for the daily attacks perpetrated by the Zionist entity.

Unfortunately the countries of this region are paying high prices for the wrong and illogical American policies, especially under the current US President Donald Trump, whose policy increased tension in the region.

We believe that the best for this region is for the United States not only to withdraw its military forces from the Syrian territory, but to withdraw completely from this region, and stop providing complete support to the occupying Zionist entity, to allow all countries in the region and their governments to cooperate with each other in a way that achieve a better tomorrow for this region and security, tranquility, stability and prosperity for the peoples of this region.

In this context, we in the Islamic Republic of Iran support Lebanon and all the countries of the region. But of course, the peoples of this region know the facts well, and of course, all these parties are aware of the American actions and intentions for this region and its countries and peoples. This is why they do not bet on this losing horse".

Question: This is your first visit to Premier Hariri six months after your appointment. What is the reason behind the timing of this visit?

Firouznia: Sometimes circumstances impose themselves. I was on vacation for two months in Iran and Prime Minister Hariri wasn't in Lebanon on other occasions. The important thing is that the meeting was very good and constructive.

Question: Can we consider that your visit is a response to Hale's visit to Lebanon, and comes in the context of the American-Iranian arm twisting that is reflected in delaying the formation of the Lebanese government?

Firouznia: Our primary concern is the bilateral and constructive relations between Lebanon and Iran. Thus, we focus on this more than anything else.

Question: How will Iran help Lebanon accelerate the formation of the government? Some consider that you are taking the government as a hostage in your struggle with the United States in the region?

Firouznia: I said more than once and I reassert that the Islamic Republic of Iran stresses the necessity to speed up the formation of the new Lebanese government and I do not think that this issue should be linked to foreign factors.

Source: National News Agency