US envoy: Hezbollah deflecting attension from its internal tension


Following talks with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly said on Wednesday that Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent statements against the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon are aimed at “deflecting attention away from internal tensions in the party.”

Nasrallah on Friday revealed that three Hezbollah members spied for the CIA and said “the U.S. embassy in Awkar is a center for spying and recruiting Israeli agents.” Nasrallah however refused to reveal their identity

Connelly’s comments come after a spokesman for the US embassy in Beirut denied claims by Hezbollah chief Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had recruited three members of the militant group .

“These are the same kind of empty accusations that we have repeatedly heard from Hezbollah,” the spokesperson told reporters shortly after Nasrallah made the allegations in a televised speech via video link and added: “There is no substance to to his accusation. It appears as if Nasrallah was addressing internal problems within Hezbollah with which we have nothing to do.

“Our position towards Hezbollah is well known and has not changed.” The spokesman said

Connelly did not elaborate on the tension within Hezbollah but many analysts expect the tension to be related to the imminent indictment of Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Connelly also said : “We discussed the new government and I repeated the U.S. decision which is we will judge the new government by its composition, its ministerial statement, and the actions it takes.”

In response to a question about commitment to international resolutions she said:

“Of course I reiterated our expectation that the new government will continue to respect Lebanon’s international obligations including those related to the Security Council resolution 1701 and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” she added.

Commenting on the situation in Syria, the ambassador said : “We expect the Syrian regime to engage in meaningful dialogue with its opposition and we support the right of the Syrian people to free expression and we want to see the regime end its suppression of that right.”