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France seeks cooperation from Iran, Russia on Lebanon

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron spoke Wednesday to the leaders of Russia and Iran and urged them to cooperate with the rest of the international community to restore stability in Lebanon.

While Iran and Russia are important power players in the region and have offered Lebanon aid since last week’s devastating explosion, neither participated in an international donors' conference Sunday organized by France and the U.N. to help rebuild Beirut.

Macron visited Beirut in the wake of the blast and offered broad support for the former French protectorate. Speaking with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whose country backs Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, Macron said the region’s major powers should avoid interfering or escalating tensions in Lebanon as it forms a new government, according to Macron’s office.

And speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Macron suggested that Russia should support Lebanon via collective efforts at the U.N. Security Council instead of through bilateral aid.

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