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Macron Calls Trump Other Leaders to Discuss Region And Iran

U.S. President Donald Trump meets French President Emmanuel Macron in New York, U.S., September 18, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron's diplomatic efforts regarding the Middle East continued after his meeting with Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s prime minister who unexpectedly announced his resignation more than a week ago.

Macron talked with U.S. President Donald Trump on telephone and they discussed the Middle East on Saturday.

While the French side said the two sides discussed "ways to stabilize the region and establish peace", the White House announced the two presidents "agreed on the need to work with allies to counter Hezbollah’s and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region”.

Macron also spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, a presidential statement said Saturday.

Macron criticized Iran’s policies in the region twice in the past 8 days and has asked Tehran to be transparent in its missile development program.

This solicited harsh reactions from Tehran, where Supreme Leader Ali Khameni’s top advisor in an interview said Macron should not interfere in Iran’s problems.

But the Elysee Palace in a statement on Saturday insisted that diplomatic channels remain open with Iran. "We speak freely to Iran" the statement said and there had been "no interruption" in contacts with Tehran, with which a "firm and demanding dialogue" must be had.

With reporting by RFI and Washington Post