Middle East Affairs

US urges post-election Lebanon to uphold regional policy

US urges post-election Lebanon to uphold regional policy

US urges post-election Lebanon to uphold regional policy
May 09
08:28 2018
  • The US views Hezbollah as a terrorist group and is critical of its role in the Syrian conflict
  • The Lebanese policy of disassociation was declared in 2012 to keep the deeply divided state out of regional conflicts such as the civil war in neighboring Syria

BEIRUT: The US urged Lebanon to uphold a policy of staying out of regional wars and a UN Security Council resolution that sought Hezbollah’s disarmament, after the Iran-backed group and its allies won more than half the seats in Sunday’s election.

The US views Hezbollah as a terrorist group and is critical of its role in the Syrian conflict, but has given Lebanon substantial military support.

“As Lebanon looks ahead to forming a new government, we urge all parties to uphold Lebanon’s international obligations, including those contained in UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701,” the US Embassy in Beirut said in a statement.

The two resolutions relate to the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, the disarmament of all militias, including Hezbollah, and the terms of a 2006 cease-fire agreement between Lebanon and Washington’s close ally Israel.

The Lebanese policy of disassociation was declared in 2012 to keep the deeply divided state out of regional conflicts such as the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Despite the policy, Hezbollah is heavily involved there, sending thousands of fighters to help the Syrian regime.

UN Security Council resolution 1559 issued in 2004 sought the withdrawal of foreign forces from Lebanon, chiefly Assad troops that allowed for Syrian domination.

The Syrian regime forces left in 2005 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Winners in Sunday’s election included a retired general, Jamil Al-Sayyed, who was one of the most powerful figures in Lebanon during the era of Syrian domination. A close friend of Assad, he won his seat with Hezbollah’s backing.

Several other pro-Assad Lebanese who have not held public office since the Syrian withdrawal also won seats.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri lost more than a third of his seats, though he is widely expected to form another unity government that will include Hezbollah and Lebanon’s other main parties.

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