January 16, 2019
US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale has not invited Lebanon to the Warsaw global conference expected in Poland on February 13 and 14 to discuss issues related to the Middle East and means to counter Iran’s power in the region.
Observers believe that Washington decided to omit Lebanon over the sensitivity of the matter.
High-ranking Lebanese officials told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that during most of his meetings with officials in Beirut this week, Hale fell short of discussing Lebanon’s position regarding the summit in Poland.
However, he raised the matter during most of his unofficial meetings.
“Hale knows very well the sensitivity of Lebanon’s internal situation, and that Beirut is incapable to withstand the consequences of decisions expected from the summit,” the sources said.
They quoted Hale as asserting that the gradual withdrawal of troops from Syria would not mean that the US has decided to turn its back on the region.
Meanwhile, following assertions that Washington would step up efforts to counter Iran’s dangerous activities in the region, the Iranian Embassy in Beirut hit back at the US official’s remarks on Tehran, describing his statements as “blatant interference” in Iran’s affairs.
“Within the context of the provocative visits conducted lately by several US officials, the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, issued a series of stances that can only be within the context of blatant interference in the affairs of others and dictating decisions,” the Embassy said in a statement, deprecating Hale’s remarks on Iran as outrageous.
Concerning the presence of Iran’s military advisers in Syria, the Embassy said: “This matter does not need the permission of anybody as it came upon the request of the legitimate Syrian state, and in full coordination and cooperation between the two countries.”