Tillerson says Hezbollah actions threaten Lebanon, region

Tillerson assures Aoun of continued US support

Tillerson assures Aoun of continued US support

Tillerson is leaving Lebanon for Turkey. "Their presence in Syria has perpetuated the bloodshed, increased the displacement of innocent people and propped up the barbaric Assad regime", Tillerson said at a news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

President Michel Aoun told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday that Lebanon was committed to preserving calm on its southern border and urged Washington to play an "effective role" to help resolve Beirut's land and maritime disputes with Israel. Hezbollah, branded a "terrorist" organisation by the United States, is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has fighters on the ground in the war-torn country supporting the regime.

The council also warned against Israeli plans to build a wall along the border, saying the planned barrier would constitute a violation of both Lebanese sovereignty and UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Commenting on the proposal, however, Aoun said that Lebanon will not give Israel a "millimeter".

"Mr President, thank you for the warm welcome and the open, frank, and productive discussion", Tillerson wrote in the Lebanese palace's visitors book after the talks.

Tillerson arrived in the Lebanese capital earlier in the day as part of a regional tour.

The US has offered Lebanon mediation to ease tensions with Israel over the offshore gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The policy the three leaders wish to put forth is one hinging on the notion that Israel's actions along the southern and maritime border infringe upon Lebanon's rights.

The U.S Secretary of State will also seek to discuss with Lebanese officials the Trump administration's intensified efforts to curtail Hezbollah's influence in the region, amid the introduction of amended legislation targetting the Iranian backed militant group's financial network that passed in October 2017.

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