Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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US lawmaker cites Lebanon worries to UN envoy

US lawmaker cites Lebanon worries to UN envoy

Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the diplomat she was "concerned" that US and UN efforts in Lebanon were failing to counter Hezbollah's growing power.

"Hezbollah, with the help of Iran and Syria, is massively rearming, the Lebanese government is becoming more and more subordinate to Iran and Syria, and the line between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah is gradually being erased," she said in a statement summarizing their meeting.

"We need to have a clear vision of what the end-state is and how we can achieve it.

"Above all, we must protect the security of the US and our allies, uphold Lebanon's sovereignty, and ensure that those responsible for (late) prime minister (Rafiq) Hariri's murder are held responsible," the Florida lawmaker added.

Roed-Larsen has been overseeing UN Security Council Resolution 1559, a text adopted in 2004 by the 15-member body that calls for "the disbanding and disarmament" of all militias in Lebanon.

Tensions have been high in Beirut as the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is said to be preparing to issue an indictment in the 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.

The tribunal has not confirmed reports that it will accuse Hezbollah members in the killing, but the Iranian- and Syrian-backed movement's leader Hassan Nasrallah has repeatedly said he is ready for such an outcome and has warned of the repercussions.

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