Lebanon to boycott Warsaw conference seen as hostile to Iran

Sergio Conner
February 12, 2019

Responding to a question on whether the Islamic Republic would offer military aid to Lebanon, the top diplomat said, "Tehran is ready to maintain cooperation with Beirut in any aspect that the Lebanese government wants".

Zarif, who arrived in Beirut on Sunday, is scheduled to hold talks with the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil on Monday. The conference is widely seen as aimed at isolating Iran, which was not invited.

The two-day Warsaw conference begins Wednesday and will be co-hosted by the U.S. Some 80 countries have been invited, including Israel.

Lebanon has been following a policy of disassociation from regional conflicts. Lebanon recently formed a new government following nine months of political gridlock largely caused by a demand that Hizbullah, which won major gains in last May's elections, be granted a larger role in the cabinet.

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Lebanese ministerial sources, however, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Iranian offer would be likely rejected, given the sanctions against Tehran.

Lebanon is technically at war with Israel, and Lebanese officials avoid conferences where Israelis are present.

Zarif said on Saturday that the Americans made a lot of effort for holding the anti-Iran conference in Warsaw, but they have now altered their stance which shows the summit has already failed to reach its initial purposes.

Iran has been one of the main backers of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who appears to be winning the war thanks to huge support from Tehran and Russian Federation.

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