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Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano (C) stands along side Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel, during a joint press conference on the support pledged to the Lebanese security forces, Farnesina palace, in Rome on Mar15, 2018. (AFP)
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano (C) stands along side Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (L) and UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Pernille Dahler Kardel, during a joint press conference on the support pledged to the Lebanese security forces, Farnesina palace, in Rome on Mar15, 2018. (AFP)

NEW YORK-United Nations chief Antonio Guteres urged all Lebanese parties to stop meddling in the Syrian conflict, in a report naming the Lebanon-based and Iran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah.
“The presence of unauthorized weapons in the hands of Hezbollah remains of serious concern and warrants condemnation,” the secretary-general said in a quarterly report distributed to the 15 Security Council members ahead of a debate set for Tuesday.
Washington, which is involved in a major diplomatic offensive to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East, is expected to reprise the accusations against Hezbollah.

On Syria, Gutteres said “no progress was achieved with respect to the disarmament of armed groups.”
“The maintenance of arms outside the control of the state by Hezbollah and other groups continues to restrict the ability of the government of Lebanon to exercise full sovereignty and authority over its territory,” he added.
“Hezbollah continued to acknowledge publicly that it maintains its military capacity.”

UN Secretary General’s report coincided with an international conference held in Rome to drum up money to bolster the armed forces of Lebanon, long a proxy battleground for its bigger neighbors.

France annouced that it will provide approximately $500 million as a line of credit to the Lebanese army.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri thanked Paris at the conference in Rome.

“This conference is important because we in Lebanon were the first to oust Daesh — we were able to do it with very little capabilities,” Hariri said,
Hariri however did not refer to Hezbollah, a militia that has substantial military capabilities and is seen as a more powerful actor than the Lebanese Army inside the country’s borders and beyond.

Hariri said further discussion would be had to clarify the amounts pledged by each of the 40 countries at the Rome II Conference, which will be followed by two further meetings in Paris and Brussels.

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