Naharnet

Pompeo Says Up to Lebanon to Talk to Assad on Refugees, Sanctions Won't Harm Economy

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Washington does not want to harm the Lebanese economy with its new sanctions on Hizbullah, as he noted that it is up to the Lebanese to coordinate with Damascus on the thorny issue of returning refugees.

Describing Iran-backed Hizbullah as “so dangerous,” Pompeo described the group as “a threat that is posed to all these people (in Lebanon), Christians and Muslims.”

“We want our good partners in Lebanon to understand that we’re with them in this battle,” Pompeo said in an interview with Lebanon’s MTV.

Asked whether the new U.S. sanctions might hurt the Lebanese economy, Pompeo said: “We don’t want that.”

“A thriving Lebanon economy is good for… peace and stability,” he emphasized.

As for his meetings with Lebanese leaders, Pompeo said: “I believe that they all understand the importance of keeping the political power out of the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Pompeo also denied reports that he was not “happy” after his talks with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

“We had a fine meeting,” the U.S. official said, describing the talks as “frank” and “candid.”

“Each of the meetings I had yesterday was constructive and productive,” he went on to say.

Asked whether President Michel Aoun should talk to his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad about the issue of refugees, Pompeo said “it’s a decision for the Lebanese leaders to make.”

Source: Naharnet


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