US and France Express Strong Support to Lebanon amid Crisis
The United States and France have expressed their support for Lebanon's sovereignty and stability amid heightening tensions between Beirut and Saudi Arabia.
A political crisis has gripped Lebanon and shattered the relative peace maintained by its coalition government since Prime Minister Saad Hariri's stunning announcement Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital that he was resigning.
Lebanese officials have insisted on the return home of Hariri from Saudi Arabia amid rumors he is being held against his will.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday that Washington calls upon "all states and parties to respect Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and constitutional processes."
"In this sensitive time, the United States also rejects any efforts by militias within Lebanon or by any foreign forces to threaten Lebanon's stability, undermine Lebanese government institutions, or use Lebanon as a base from which to threaten others in the region," Sanders added.
The White House statement echoed an appeal issued Friday by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is traveling in Asia with President Donald Trump. Tillerson warned other countries against using Lebanon for proxy conflicts.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported Saturday that French President Emmanuel Macron called his Lebanese counterpart expressing France's commitment to Lebanon's "unity, sovereignty and independence."