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UN coordinator, Iran officials meet over Lebanon

Acting UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on May 28, 2018.

Acting United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel has held meetings with senior Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, during her visit to Tehran.

A representative of the office of Kardel said Monday that the talks came as part of regular regional consultations focused on the significance of preserving Lebanon’s stability, security and sovereignty, and shielding the country from regional conflicts.

During her visit to Tehran, the UN coordinator met Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian parliament speaker's special adviser on international affairs, Iran’s Fars news agency reported Sunday.

According to the report, Kardel told the former deputy foreign minister that her mission in Lebanon is to help to establish and maintain the country’s stability.

Ensuring this stability for a long term is a central interest of the UN’s operations in the Arab country, he said.

She also emphasized the significance of keeping Lebanon out of any regional crisis, saying that the region’s countries should collaborate to achieve it.

Also in her remarks, the UN official touched on the Lebanese parliamentary elections held on May 6, which were the first to be held in the country in nine years, describing them as an achievement for Lebanon.

For his part, Amir-Abdollahian expressed relief over the success of the general elections in Lebanon.

“Luckily and through the wisdom of Lebanese officials, we are witnessing a phase of calm, stability and agreement among the political movements in the country,” he said.

He also expressed Iran’s readiness to expand economic ties with Lebanon, while stressing the significant role that the resistance plays in enhancing the country’s defense capabilities.

Berri expects cabinet within a month 

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri expects a new coalition government to be formed within a month because nobody has an interest in a delay, the newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported on Monday.

Saad al-Hariri, who was designated prime minister last week, was due to hold consultations with the newly-elected members of parliament on Monday about the new government, which is expected to include all Lebanon's main parties.

"Nobody has an interest in delaying the birth of the government or putting complications in its way," Berri told people who had visited him, al-Mustaqbal said.

Hariri, who will be prime minister for the third time, said last week all parties agreed that economic risks at home and growing dangers in the region meant a national unity government must be formed as quickly as possible.

Hezbollah and its allies made significant gains in the May 6 parliamentary elections.

Hezbollah, along with groups and individuals that support the resistance movement, won at least 70 of the parliament's 128 seats in the elections. Hariri lost more than a third of his MPs.

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