(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BEIRUT, Feb 15 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned that the Lebanese Hezbollah group's activities jeopardize Lebanon's security and stability.
"Hezbollah is not just a concern for the United States. The people of Lebanon should also be concerned about how Hezbollah's actions and its growing arsenal bring unwanted and unhelpful scrutiny on Lebanon," Tillerson said Thursday in a joint press conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri.
"Hezbollah's entanglement in regional conflicts threatens the security of Lebanon." He argued that Hezbollah's presence in Syria has only increased the bloodshed, the displacement of innocent people and propped up "the barbaric Assad regime" He also criticized the Lebanese group which is part of the coalition government leading Lebanon currently, for fueling sectarian division and conflicts in Iraq and Yemen.
"And the consequences of Hezbollah's involvement in these far-off conflicts -- which have nothing to do with Lebanon -- are felt here," Tillerson stressed. The US top diplomat reaffirmed the US government's long-standing stance toward Hezbollah, which Washington more than two decades ago designated a terrorist organization.
"We neither see or accept any distinction between its political and military arms," he said.
On Israeli threats to Lebanon sovereignty and off-shore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea, Tillerson said he mulled with Lebanese officials approaches to break a "stalemate" with Israel over gas drilling rights along the countries' disputed maritime border and maintain calm along the volatile frontier.
"We've asked no one to give up anything. Rather, we're looking for a solution," he said. (end) wsm.amm.ibi