Lebanese President Discards US Claims about Hezbollah’s Clout on Government
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanese President General Michel Aoun strongly dismissed latest allegations by the US ambassador to the Middle Easter nation that Hezbollah is now wielding more influence on the Beirut government.
“This is the US vision and it contradicts with reality. Hezbollah has maintained the same political presence it had in the previous government, and it is not true that its influence over Lebanon is increasing,” Aoun said on Wednesday evening.
“What some political circles say in this regard is mere bickering. At the security level, they even say that Hezbollah has influence in the South and the Bekaa [Valley]. This is while there is no authority higher than that of the army and security forces, which recently carried out major operations in the region and beefed up security and stability,” Aoun added.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and voiced Washington’s concern over Hezbollah’s “growing role in the Cabinet.”
Hezbollah “continues to make its own national security decisions - decisions that endanger the rest of the country,” Richard claimed.
On February 4, Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah flatly rejected allegations by ‘Israeli’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his movement is in control of the Lebanese government, stressing the new administration belongs to all political factions participating in it.
Netanyahu is “provoking the United States, European countries and the [Persian] Gulf states against the Lebanese government, claiming that it is controlled by Hezbollah. Such false claims have serious international repercussions,” Sayyed Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from Beirut.
Nasrallah underscored that the new Lebanese government consists of various political parties, and that Hezbollah is just one of them.
In response to certain media reports that the new health minister is a member of Hezbollah, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that Jamil Jabak, a doctor by profession, is solely close to the resistance movement, but not a member of it.
Lebanon announced the formation of a government on January 31, ending over eight months of wrangling amid fears of a major economic collapse.