Tabbara: U.S. Decided to Distance Lebanon Economy from Sanctions Impact
Despite concerns that the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Hizbullah could affect Lebanon’s economy, the former Lebanese Ambassador to the United States Riad Tabbara assured that Washington is keen on “distancing Lebanon’s economy and banking sector” from measures it takes in that regard, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.
In an interview to the daily, Tabbara said: “What matters to Lebanon is the sanctions on Hizbullah and its financiers, and perhaps also on those who support it politically, which of course constitutes an economic threat to Lebanon.
“However, more than two years ago the Americans have announced measures guaranteeing neutralization of the Lebanese economy as much as possible, especially the banking sector. There is no evidence today that this policy has changed,” said Tabbbara.
“Washington, however, believes that Lebanon should cooperate with the related U.S. authorities to facilitate its missions in this area, which has already happened in the past and is still part of the Lebanese banking policy,” he added.
As for the possible complications that could be facing the formation of Lebanon’s government, he said: “The U.S. administration is watching things from a distance, I do not think it sees great risks to it and to Lebanon in this area.
It is aware that the Lebanese will eventually form a constitutional government that distances itself from regional problems as they did in the past, which does not pose a threat to its interests in the region,” he concluded.
On Wednesday, the United States and six Gulf Arab states announced sanctions on the leadership of Hizbullah.
The US and Saudi-led Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center said the sanctions were aimed at Hizbullah’s Shura Council, the decision-making council, led by the secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah.
Nasrallah, Hizbullah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qasim, and three other Shura Council members were listed under the joint sanctions, which aim at freezing vulnerable assets of those named and blocking their access to global financial networks.