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Pompeo Pledges Harsher Measures Against Hezbollah Allies

Pompeo Pledges Harsher Measures Against Hezbollah Allies

Monday, 25 March, 2019 - 08:30
Pompeo visits President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace, on Friday March 22, 2019. NNA
Beirut - Mohamed Choucair
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed that tightening the financial noose on Iran and Hezbollah was necessary to stop them from creating instability in Lebanon and the region, Lebanese cabinet ministers and lawmakers said.

The officials, who met with Pompeo during his visit to Beirut last week, also quoted the top US diplomat as saying that sanctions will gradually increase to dry out the sources of Iranian and Hezbollah funds.

Washington would use all available means against any person or group linked with Tehran or Hezbollah, the Lebanese officials cited Pompeo.

The ministers and deputies, who made their remarks to Asharq Al-Awast, were among guests at a dinner banquet thrown by MP Michel Moawad in honor of the visiting US Secretary of State.

They said Pompeo did not discuss the US position from sanctions imposed on Hezbollah and Iran, which Washington accuses of destabilizing the region.

“The mission of the US Secretary of State was rather focused on informing officials whom he met in Beirut about the stance continuously expressed by US President Donald Trump” on Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese political figures said.

Last week, Pompeo said during a visit to Lebanon that his country would choke off funding that feeds Iran and Hezbollah terror operations.

“Pompeo believes that by interfering in Lebanon and the region, Iran and its wings were practicing all kinds of terrorism,” the ministers and deputies said.

The US official hinted that his country is keen on protecting Lebanon’s economy and distancing it from possible damages that would result from adding more names to US sanctions list, they told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Pompeo also stressed that his country supports the CEDRE Conference that was held in Paris in April last year to help Lebanon gradually overcome its economic and financial crisis.

Sources said that the joint statement issued following the meeting between Pompeo and Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil had been previously agreed on by both sides.

The two men held serious talks concerning their contradictory viewpoints mainly on Pompeo’s warning to take a harder line on Iran and Hezbollah, the sources said.

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