In a press conference on Monday with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister, Gebran Bassil, confirmed agreement on the pressing need to reach a swift political solution to the Syrian impasse.
“We support the formation of a Syrian constitution and all efforts aiming at facilitating a safe return of Syrian refugees to their homeland,” Bassil said, relaying as well Iran’s support to ensure their speedy and safe return.
“We reject the policy of keeping refugees hostage to a political solution in Syria,” he added. “The Syrian state has a significant contribution that it can make to encourage the return of refugees through guarantees on individual property rights and military service,” Bassil maintained.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister also declares that Lebanon would not partake in Warsaw conference due to Israel’s presence and because Lebanon had been adopting a self-dissociation policy.
Mentioning the case of Nizar Zaka, Bassil said that there was nothing wrong with establishing economic ties with Iran “if there are frameworks that could protect Lebanon.”
For his part, Minister Zarif said, “We are confident that the new government will succeed in Lebanon. We will always support the people and extend a helping hand in all frameworks possible, and we are ready to respond to the Lebanese government’s request to cooperate with it in any vital area it deems appropriate.”
Moreover, Zarif stressed Iran’s efforts to contribute to finding a political solution in Syria. “All the forces entering Syria without the permission of the official leadership must exit,” he added.
On another note, he said, “We highly value the Lebanese position regarding Warsaw Conference.
As for the case of detained Zaka, Zarif made clear that there was a separation of powers in Iran, and a complete independence of the judiciary. “But we are making the necessary efforts to resolve this issue,” he said.
As for establishing economic ties with Lebanon, the Iranian Minister said, “There is no international law that prevents Iran and Lebanon from cooperating; even resolution 2231 requires all countries to normalize their economic relations with Iran.”