Tillerson Says Hezbollah Terrorist Actions Threaten Lebanon, Region
(AFP) BEIRUT — Hezbollah’s actions pose a threat to the security of Lebanon and have a destabilising influence in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Thursday.
“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 destabilising effects on the region,” he said of the Iran-backed Shiite movement.
Hezbollah, branded a “terrorist” organisation 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 a news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Hezbollah’s influence was at the heart of a political crisis in Lebanon over Hariri’s shock resignation announced from Saudi Arabia in November that was later rescinded.