Key US lawmaker urges aid cut-off for Lebanon

Date: 6/13/2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A key US lawmaker called Monday for cutting all US aid to Lebanon's new government, in which Hezbollah and its allies hold the majority, and to any Palestinian government in which Hamas is a partner.

"The US should immediately cut off assistance to the Lebanese government as long as any violent extremist group designated by the US as foreign terrorist organizations participates in it," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros–Lehtinen, a Republican and frequent White House critic.

Ros–Lehtinen warned in a statement that "Hezbollah and its cohorts will control the Lebanese government and likely benefit from the years of US assistance, including to the Lebanese military."

"We cannot undo past mistakes, but we can learn from them and safeguard taxpayer dollars going forward," she said.

It is the first time a coalition led by Hezbollah, which fought a deadly summer war with Israel in 2006 and is blacklisted in Washington as a terrorist organization, has dominated a government in Lebanon.
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"The US should likewise stop funding the Palestinian Authority, where Hamas appears to be following in Hezbollah's footsteps," said Ros–Lehtinen.

"It is time for US assistance to truly advance our interests, rather than benefit the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, and their partners," she said.


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