x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Iran welcomes Syria and Lebanon diplomacy

The Iranian foreign ministry says the move contributes to the strengthening of relations between its two allies.

Iran today welcomed Syria and Lebanon's establishment of diplomatic ties, the ISNA news agency reported. "The move contributes to the strengthening of the mutual and historical relations between the two nations that are [Iran's] friends and brothers," the foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Ghashghavi was quoted as saying. On Wednesday, Syria and Lebanon announced establishment of diplomatic ties for the first time since they became independent 60 years ago. The two neighbours are set to open embassies in each other's capitals before the end of the year.

Iran is a staunch supporter of Lebanon's Shiite movement Hizbollah although it denies Western and Israeli charges of providing military backing to the militant group. Tehran also has an alliance with Damascus stretching back more than three decades, which was strengthened in 2006 with the signing of a military co-operation agreement. *AFP