Saudi FM: Hezbollah holding Lebanon hostage, uses its banks to launder money

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, left, laughs during a joint press conference with his Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis in Madrid during an official visit to Spain on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
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Saudi FM: Hezbollah holding Lebanon hostage, uses its banks to launder money

MADRID: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Friday accused Hezbollah, which Riyadh blames for the shock resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, of holding Lebanon hostage and using its banks to launder money.
Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters in Madrid that the Shiite group was destabilising Lebanon by maintaining its arsenal and fighters in the Mediterranean nation.
“You cannot have a militia with a military force that operates outside the scope of the government,” he told reporters after talks with Spanish counterpart Alfonso Dastis.
“We see Hezbollah hijacking the Lebanese banking system to launder money, we see Hezbollah hijacking Lebanese ports in order to smuggle drugs, we see Hezbollah engaging in terrorist activities and interfering in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen,” he added.
“Unless Hezbollah disarms and becomes a (solely) political party, Lebanon will be held hostage by Hezbollah and by extension Iran,” he said.
“This is not acceptable to us and is not acceptable to the Lebanese.”
Lebanon, long abused by regional powers seeking to exert influence, was plunged into uncertainty this month after Hariri’s shock resignation, announced on television from Riyadh.
Hariri said he was stepping down because of Hezbollah and Iran’s “grip” over his country.
“We are supportive of Prime Minister Saad Hariri but we are against Hezbollah’s takeover of Lebanon,” Al-Jubeir said.
Hariri was expected to leave Saudi Arabia for France later Friday, a move aimed at defusing political turmoil sparked by his resignation.


White House adviser Jared Kushner: Saudi Arabia is 'important ally'

Updated 22 October 2018
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White House adviser Jared Kushner: Saudi Arabia is 'important ally'

WASHINGTON: Speaking about Saudi Arabia's investigation into the case of the late Jamal Khashoggi, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said that the Trump administration is still in "fact-finding phase."

"We're getting facts in from multiple places and once those facts come in, the secretary of state will work with our national security team to help us determine what we want to believe, and what we think is credible and what we think is not credible," Kushner said on Monday

"We have our eyes wide open. The president's focused on what's good for America, what are our strategic interests, where do we share interests with other countries let's work towards those," he added.

Kushner stressed that Saudi Arabia was an "important ally" of the US, and a "critical partner," especially in countering Iran's influence in the Middle East.

Kushner also said he had spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the case.