Pompeo praises Lebanese government for standing firm against Iranian threat

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday (August 15th) praised the commitment of the Lebanese government to protecting the country in the face of the threat posed by Iran and Hizbullah, Arab News reported Friday.

This came during his meeting in Washington with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.

Pompeo reassured al-Hariri of "the US commitment to support Lebanon and its institutions, to preserve its security and stability, and to procure the needs of the Lebanese people".

He also praised "Lebanon’s commitment to providing support to more than one million Syrian refugees residing on its soil".

After the meeting, al-Hariri thanked the US for its "continuous support for the Lebanese Army", and restated Lebanon’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

He also noted Lebanon’s "continuous support for the Cedre Conference (of international investors) and its investment plan, which is highly necessary to the Lebanese economy".

At the Cedre conference held in Paris in April 2018, Lebanon secured pledges of $10.2 billion in loans and $860 million in grants, which are dependent on economic reforms.

During his visit, al-Hariri also discussed with Undersecretary of Defense John Rudd ways to support the Lebanese army and security forces, according to the prime minister’s office.

He also met with Treasury officials, including Marshall Billingslea, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for terrorist financing, in light of fresh US sanctions on Hizbullah officials.

On July 9th, the Treasury imposed sanctions on Hizbullah MPs Amin Sherri and Muhammad Hasan Raad, and on Wafiq Safa, a top Hizbullah security official close to the movement's leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

The US accuses Hizbullah of "using its members in the Lebanese Parliament to manipulate institutions to support the financial and security interests of the terrorist group and to promote malicious activities of Iran".

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