News / Middle East

Clinton Wary of Hezbollah-Controlled Lebanon

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaks to the media next to Spain's Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jimenez, after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, 25 Jan 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) speaks to the media next to Spain's Foreign Minister, Trinidad Jimenez, after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, 25 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the emergence of a Hezbollah-controlled Lebanese government would clearly have an impact on U.S.-Lebanese relations.  She also said the United States believes Egypt is stable, despite Tunisia-style protests there.

Clinton says it is too early to judge the emerging government in Lebanon, but she is making clear U.S. apprehension about the prospect of a Beirut government dominated by Hezbollah and subject to Iranian influence.

The Lebanon situation, and political unrest in North Africa that spread to Egypt this week, dominated a meeting between Clinton and Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiminez of Spain, which has close relations with North Africa and leads the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, UNIFIL.

Clinton said she and her Spanish counterpart share deep concerns about the influence in Lebanon of outside forces, an apparent reference to Iran and Syria, which have backed Hezbollah.

She said while the process of government formation is just beginning, the prospect of a leading role for the Shiite militia and political movement is troubling.

"A Hezbollah-controlled government would clearly have an impact on our bilateral relationship with Lebanon," she said. "Our bottom lines remain as they always have been.  First, we believe that justice must be pursued and impunity for murder ended.  We believe in Lebanon’s sovereignty and an end to outside interference.  So as we see what this new government does, we will judge it accordingly."

Hezbollah has pushed for an end to support by the Lebanese government for the U.N.-backed tribunal on the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Lebanon’s government crisis was spurred in part by secret indictments from the tribunal that are widely expected to implicate Hezbollah in the car-bomb killing.

The United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and officials in Washington say its apparent rise to power will impact U.S. economic and military aid to Lebanon of nearly $250 million a year.

 

View Margaret Besheer's audio slideshow of the protest in Lebanon

On the Egyptian political unrest, Clinton said the United States is monitoring the situation closely, but does not think the turmoil affects the stability of the Cairo government, a key U.S. ally.

"We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people," said the secretary of state. "And we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence.  But our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."

Clinton said she and Foreign Minister Jiminez discussed how the United States and European Union can help Tunisia in its transition from authoritarian rule to democracy.

She said while the country has a "long way to go," she is encouraged, after contacts with leaders of the interim government in Tunis, about their commitment to inclusive elections to be held as soon as practicable.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs