Lebanon to boycott conference in Poland on Mideast, Iran

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives at Rafik Hariri Airport in Beirut Lebanon

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives at Rafik Hariri Airport in Beirut Lebanon

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is pictured after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon November 7, 2016.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pledged support for the new Hizbullah-dominated Lebanese government at the beginning of a two-day trip to Beirut.

Lebanon said Monday it will not take part in a Middle East conference in Poland this week that is widely seen as an effort to isolate Iran.

The two-day Warsaw conference begins Wednesday and will be co-hosted by the US.

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"Lebanon is committed to the dissociation policy", he added, referring to Beirut's attempts to staying out of regional conflicts.

Mahmoud Qomati, a Hezbollah member and state minister for parliamentary affairs, said later that his group appreciates there is worldwide pressure on Lebanon but that shouldn't stand in the way of accepting Iran's offer to help the country's struggling economy.

The new Lebanese national unity government is led by the Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and groups most of the main political factions, including Hezbollah, which has expanded its role in the new cabinet. Hezbollah has three ministers in the new cabinet, reflecting the gains made by the powerful group in parliament elections held in May previous year.

"We don't want to embarrass anyone in Lebanon through the cooperation with the Islamic Republic", he said, adding that there is no worldwide law that bans Iran from cooperating with any country. Various other sources have suggested that, in reality, the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon could be as high as 1.5 million.

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