Iran-Saudi talks have come a “good distance”, Iranian foreign minister says in Beirut

BEIRUT: Talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia have come a “good distance,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a press conference in Beirut on Thursday, referring to efforts to improve relationships.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati praised on behalf of his government “the positivity that prevails over the Saudi-Iranian talks, hosted by Iraq”.

He stressed the need to “believe in the honest intentions of the interlocutors to end the conflict and pave the way for the establishment of new relations based on mutual respect, to achieve the sovereignty and non-interference of states in internal affairs. and preserve their stability and security and realize the aspirations of their peoples, which will have positive effects on Lebanon.

Amirabdollahian held a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdullah Bou Habib, during which Amirabdollahian announced that “the dialogue we believe in aims to address regional and international issues and we have come a long way in our talks with the ‘Saudi Arabia “.

Amirabdollahian spoke with Lebanese officials about the arrival of the first shipment of Iranian gasoline at the Syrian port of Banyas. It will be shipped to Lebanon by Syrian tankers that Hezbollah will bring into the country through illegal crossings.

None of the Lebanese officials have directly criticized the Iranian fuel shipped to the country despite the sanctions imposed on Iran.

Instead, President Michel Aoun reiterated “Iran’s solidarity with Lebanon during its crisis and the aid it provided to the country following the explosion in the port of Beirut.”

According to his media office, Aoun reiterated “Lebanon’s support for Iran’s efforts to promote rapprochement with the countries of the region, in particular the Arab countries, through the ongoing dialogue which aims to bring together the views on controversial issues ”.

Amirabdollahian underlined “the strong support of his country in Lebanon and the willingness of the Iranian government to help Lebanon in the difficult circumstances that the country is going through”.

The media office of the presidential palace assured that Amirabdollahian “reiterated his country’s position regarding the latest developments and negotiations between Tehran and Arab and foreign countries on several issues, particularly concerning the nuclear issue.”

Following his meeting with the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, Amirabdollahian considered “the presence of foreign troops as the main factor of regional instability and insecurity”.

He said: “We agreed that all regional issues and issues should be dealt with by the people of the region themselves. “

Mikati told Amirabdollahian that “Lebanon today desperately needs to promote the confidence of the Lebanese in their state and its institutions, establishing normal relations with other states based on mutual respect and common interests, to meet the aspirations of the people ”.

Mikati underlined that “Lebanon welcomes all the efforts made by any brother and friendly state and the international community as long as it helps Lebanon to maintain its constitutional institutions and its role in the protection and strengthening of its legal and security forces. and military ”.

Amirabdollahian also announced that “Iranian companies are ready to build two power plants with a capacity of 1000 megawatts in Beirut and in southern Lebanon within 18 months.”

On the Middle East crisis, he declared, “from Beirut, we recognize only one state, which is Palestine, and its capital is Jerusalem”.

Sources say Amirabdollahian has met Palestinian leaders in refugee camps in Lebanon and is likely to meet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah before traveling to Damascus.

Three hours before his arrival in Beirut, demonstrators took to the streets to protest against “the Iranian occupation of Lebanon”.

The protest was led by a group of activists who marched towards the headquarters of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry. The demonstrators held placards calling for “the implementation of international resolutions and the withdrawal of illegal weapons”, and rejecting “the plan to transform Lebanon into a satellite state of the Iranian regime”.

Many have taken to social media and mainstream media to express surprise at the Iranian official’s speech from Beirut airport, where he said his country “strongly supports Lebanon to break the unjust siege imposed on it. during this critical phase ”.

The media wondered “what seat he was talking about.”

Former minister Richard Kouyoumjian described Amirabdollahian’s visit as “establishing occupation, guardianship, domination, interference”.

“Above all, we must not give in to the alliance of minorities in the era of humiliation.”

The central news agency quoted a political source asking “what audience and from what seat is Amirabdollahian talking about?” The international community is fully mobilized to help Lebanon and awaits reforms to provide support. The United States has allowed Egyptian gas to enter Beirut via Syria and Jordan. However, the shortage of US dollars to buy fuel is the result of decades of corruption in the ruling political class, of which Hezbollah is a part. “

The political source also reportedly said that the reason for “Lebanon’s exclusion from the Gulf is the complete lack of Lebanese legitimacy under Hezbollah control and the state’s inaction in the face of military, political and smuggling violations of the groups”.

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