Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday reportedly said that it must be acknowledged that Hezbollah is part of the political process in Lebanon.
Tillerson's comments came during a visit to Jordan, Reuters reported, without providing further details.
The comments came a day after he said that the United States doesn’t have a problem with the Lebanese people, but rather with Hezbollah.
Asked if the Lebanese government was cooperating with the US in regards to putting more pressure on Hezbollah, Tillerson said, “Well, it is – it’s a very good question, and we’re very mindful of our issue is with [Hezbollah], a terrorist organization; it is not with the Lebanese people, it is not with the Lebanese government. So we try to be very precise in the actions we take to not harm the Lebanese people.”
Tillerson added that the US needs support from the Lebanese government to deal with the activities carried out by Hezbollah “that are unacceptable to the rest of the world.”
Responding to a question on the potential for a war between Lebanon and Israel, the top US diplomat said his country is trying to avoid conflict as best as possible. “We will continue to play a role there to strengthen an independent government, again, in Lebanon, to strengthen independent Lebanese security forces.”
Tillerson said Lebanon is going through “what will likely be a long transition period,” commending the new dissociation policy adopted by the government. “And we’re there to support Lebanon through this long transition.”
He is expected to arrive in Beirut Thursday for a one-day visit, where he is set to meet with President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.