US will continue to sanction Lebanese individuals allied with Hezbollah: State Department

The US will continue to impose sanctions on Lebanese individuals allied with Hezbollah or engaged in corruption, a senior State Department official said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 October 2020

US will continue to sanction Lebanese individuals allied with Hezbollah: State Department

  • Schenker told reporters that further sanctions remained in play
  • The assistant secretary said that the US will not hesitate to act to protect its personnel in Iraq

WASHINGTON: The United States will continue to impose sanctions on Lebanese individuals allied with Hezbollah or engaged in corruption, a senior State Department official said on Thursday, despite an agreement between Israel and Lebanon to hold US-mediated talks on their maritime border dispute.
David Schenker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told reporters that further sanctions remained in play even after Israel and Lebanon announced earlier on Thursday they had agreed on a framework for the coming negotiations.

The assistant secretary also said that the US will not hesitate to act to protect its personnel in Iraq, where it considers Iranian-backed militias that have attacked US targets to be the country's "single biggest problem." 
"We can't tolerate the threats to our people, our men and women serving abroad," he said. 


Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

Updated 23 October 2020

Turkey irked over joint declaration by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt

  • The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed a joint statement by Greece, Cyprus and Egypt that condemns Turkish energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and numerous “provocations” that they maintain are threatening regional peace.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “fully rejected the declaration containing baseless accusations and allegations.”
During a trilateral regional summit on Wednesday in Nicosia, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to end its “aggressive” actions.
The joint statement also asked Turkey to accept Cyprus’ invitation to enter negotiations for an agreement on maritime delimitations. Greece and Cyprus have signed maritime border agreements with Egypt while dismissing a similar deal that Ankara signed with Libya’s Tripoli-based government as “legally invalid.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the declaration attacked Ankara rather than supporting peace and stability in the region. It repeated Turkey’s position that cooperation could only take place with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in governing and sharing the resources of the ethnically divided island nation.
“We will continue with determination to protect our rights and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” the ministry statement said.
The trilateral summit took place amid high tensions between nominal NATO allies Greece and Turkey over maritime borders and energy rights.
In late summer, Turkey dispatched a research vessel escorted by warships to conduct seismic research in a part of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece claims as its territory, which prompted the Greek government to deploy its own warships.
Turkey pulled the research ship back to shore for several weeks for maintenance and to allow time for diplomacy but redeployed the Oruc Reis on a new energy exploration mission. A maritime announcement by Turkey says the Oruc Reis and two other ships would continue working in the area until Oct. 27.
Turkey also has had ships prospecting for oil and gas reserves in waters that Cyprus claims as its exclusive economic zone.