U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale reportedly told officials in Lebanon that his country intends to withhold aid to Lebanon if Hezbollah is allocated ministerial seats or indirectly controls the new government, Nidaa al-Watan daily reported on Monday.
Informed political sources reportedly told the daily that Hale also told officials that Washington does not intend to give any green light for the Gulf countries to provide any financial assistance to Lebanon.
Haled reiterated persistence of US sanctions against Hezbollah and Iran and that the Lebanese state must distance itself from the party.
Hale , who arrived to Beirut Friday, and after discussing developments in Lebanon in separate meetings with president Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and outgoing PM Saad Hariri, he underlined the need for Lebanese leaders to commit to the implementation of sustained reforms in order to put Lebanon back on the security and prosperity track.
Hale did not meet Hassan Diab who was designated as prime minister by President Michel Aoun Wednesday , after gaining the support of the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its allies but commented only about his appointment by saying the United States “has no role in saying who should lead” a Cabinet in Lebanon or anywhere else. He denied media reports that his visit was designed to influence the makeup of the new government.
Diab , a professor at the AUB failed to secure the support of his Sunni community . Outgoing PM Saad Hariri who is the top Sunni leader vowed to form a government of neutral experts but Hezbollah and its allies insist on a political technocratic cabinet .
“For far too long, too many leaders here have prioritized partisan interests or personal gain over the national interest. And today we see the effects of this pattern,” he said Friday , commenting on the mass protests.
The United States is the main supporter to the US army and security sources in Lebanon . Early in December, the Trump administration quietly released $105 million in Foreign Military Financing funds for the Lebanese Armed Forces after they were put on hold for unknown reasons.