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  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a news conference with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a news conference with Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 February 2018
Opinion

In recent weeks, the United States has imposed a number of sanctions on people and entities associated with Hezbollah.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described Lebanese Shia resistance movement Hezbollah as a "concern" during a visit to Lebanon Thursday.

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"Hezbollah is not just a concern for the United States," Tillerson said. "The people of Lebanon should also be concerned about how Hezbollah’s actions and its growing arsenal bring unwanted and unhelpful scrutiny on Lebanon."

Speaking alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri during a Beirut news conference, the U.S. secretary of state also said the United States was engaging with Lebanon and Israel to ensure their border "remained calm."

Last week, Lebanon described a planned border wall by Israel as an "act of aggression," warning that they would be ready to take action against it.

"We grant the army forces with the political backing to act against any Israeli aggression on the border — on land and at sea," Lebanon's top council of political, military and security heads said in a statement.

In recent weeks, the United States has imposed a number of sanctions on people and entities associated with Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has traditionally rejected U.S. demands to disarm, saying the group is necessary to defend Lebanon against Israel.

The last time Israel breached Lebanon’s border was in 2006, with the aim of taking out Hezbollah — an effort that ultimately failed.

Hezbollah has also said it is needed in Syria to counter Sunni militant threats against Lebanon, having played the biggest role in defeating the Islamic State group in Syria in November.

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