Naharnet

U.S. Didn't 'Veto' Giving Health Portfolio to Hizbullah

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Hale did not tell Lebanese leaders that the U.S. had a "veto" on the allocation of the health ministerial portfolio to a minister belonging to Hizbullah, a media report said.

"He only expressed unease over the allocation of this ministry to Hizbullah, seeing as it will have major engagement with international organizations and institutions that deal with the health sector and offer Lebanon financial and technical aid in this regard," sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in remarks published Sunday.

"Hale did not express any negative signal suggesting that Washington is not willing to deal with a government in which Hizbullah is represented," the sources added.

"He was decisive on supporting Lebanon's stability and helping it implement U.N. resolution 1701, while strongly criticizing Hizbullah's role in the destabilization of Lebanon and the region, seeing as it implements the policies dictated on it by Iran," the sources went on to say.

The sources also noted that Washington was not "surprised" that Hizbullah was represented in the government but would "back efforts aimed at reining it in to prevent it from seizing control of Lebanon."

"Washington will maintain its support for Lebanon, because its absence would relieve the Defiance Axis and allow it to politically control the country," the sources said.


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