Tillerson: Growing Hezbollah arsenal a threat to Lebanon

Fri, 16.02.2018 18:19

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday Hezbollah’s growing arsenal and its involvement in regional conflicts threatened the security of Lebanon.

He said that Hezbollah "is a terrorist organization" and there is no distinction between its political and military wings."

He stressed that "Hezbollah has increased the conflict in Syria and the region" and it must stop its activities abroad.

Tillerson, in a Beirut news conference, also urged Lebanese leaders to uphold the country's commitment to staying out of regional conflicts.

Tillerson said in a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri that Washington was engaging with Lebanon and Israel to ensure the border remained calm.

"Hezbollah is not just a concern for the United States. The people of Lebanon should also be concerned about how Hezbollah's actions, its growing arsenal, bring unwanted and unhelpful scrutiny on Lebanon," Tillerson said in Beirut.

"Hezbollah entanglement in regional conflicts threatens the security of Lebanon and has destabilizing effects on the region," he said of the Iran-backed Shiite movement, which is part of the Lebanese government.

Hezbollah, branded a "terrorist" organization by the United States, is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has fighters on the ground in the war-torn country supporting the regime.

"Their presence in Syria has perpetuated the bloodshed, increased the displacement of innocent people and propped up the barbaric Assad regime," Tillerson said at the news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Tillerson added that he had not asked Lebanon "to give up anything" on its dispute with Israel over their maritime border.

"We are looking for a solution," he said.

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Source: Al Arabiya

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