Lebanese officials deny president kept Tillerson waiting

Lebanese officials deny president kept Tillerson waiting

Aoun, Bassil's father-in-law, is a political ally of the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is deemed a terrorist group by the United States. "The people of Lebanon should also be concerned about how Hezbollah's actions, its growing arsenal, bring unwanted and unhelpful scrutiny on Lebanon", Tillerson said in Beirut.

Tillerson, who has already visited Egypt, Kuwait, and Jordan, is now scheduled to travel to Turkey for the final leg of his regional tour.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday conceded that Hezbollah is part of the political process in Lebanon, appearing to soften Washington's tone ahead of a visit to the country.

The long-standing maritime dispute resurfaced recently as Lebanon invited companies to sign exploration deals.

"We are engaging with the governments of both Lebanon and Israel to ensure Lebanon's southern border remains calm", Tillerson said.

"The United States stands with the Lebanese people for a free and democratic Lebanon", Tillerson, the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country in four years, wrote in the visitors' book after talks with President Michel Aoun. "Lebanese partnership as the two countries work together to pursue common goals that advance Lebanon's sovereignty, stability, and prosperity", the USA embassy said on its Twitter page. "And we remain committed to helping Lebanon and the Lebanese people prosper through the development of their natural resources in agreement with all of their neighbours".