Lebanon’s PM issues ultimatum over Hezbollah
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Lebanon’s PM issues ultimatum over Hezbollah

Tammam Salam warns Shiite group must fix hostile relationship with Saudi Arabia or he will quit, Lebanese officials say

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 (photo credit: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 (photo credit: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam has reportedly warned that he will resign if the powerful Hezbollah terror group does not move to repair its troubled ties with Saudi Arabia.

According to Israel’s media Walla outlet, senior officials in Lebanon told the local Elnashra website that Salam intends to make good on his ultimatum as soon as possible.

Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and the Shiite Hezbollah have been at odds over the latter’s support for the Syrian regime and for Houthi rebels seeking to oust Yemen’s government. It has sent fighters to Syria to help prop up embattled president Bashar Assad and, according to some reports, has also dispatched militants to Yemen. Both Hezbollah and the Houthis also receive support from Iran.

Saudi Arabia, however, backs rebels opposed to Syria’s government. It has also since last March led an Arab coalition supporting Yemen’s government fighting the Houthis, who have seized the country’s capital and other areas.

Riyadh on Friday extended already existing sanctions on Hezbollah, freezing the assets of and prohibited dealings with three Lebanese nationals and four companies.

It named the individuals as Fadi Hussein Sarhan, Adel Mohammed Sheri and Ali Hussein Zuaitar.

A Hezbollah funeral for one of its fighters killed in Syria. (YouTube/Channel 4 News)
A Hezbollah funeral for one of its fighters killed in Syria. (YouTube/Channel 4 News)

Saudi Arabia also sanctioned Vatech Sarl, Le-Hua Electronic Field Co Ltd, Aero Skyone Co Ltd and Labico Sal Offshore.

The United States Treasury Department last year slapped sanctions on Beirut-based Sarhan and his firm Vatech Sarl, along with Sheri, of Shenzhen, China, and his firm Le-Hua Electronic Field Co.

Sarhan purchased unmanned aerial vehicles, while Sheri facilitated Hezbollah’s efforts to obtain electronics “for transport to Yemen for use in improvised explosive devices by the Houthis,” the US Treasury Department alleged.

On Tuesday, Riyadh urged Saudis to leave Lebanon and to not travel there “for their safety,” days after halting a $3 billion program funding French military supplies to Beirut.

Saudi military spokesman Ahmed Asiri briefs journalists on the Saudi-led coalition's strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen, during a press conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
Saudi military spokesman Ahmed Asiri briefs journalists on the Saudi-led coalition’s strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen, during a press conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Announcing the aid suspension, a Saudi official said the kingdom had noticed “hostile Lebanese positions resulting from the stranglehold of Hezbollah on the state.”

Riyadh was making “a comprehensive review of its relations with the Lebanese republic,” the unnamed official said, cited by the Saudi Press Agency.

 

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