U.S. official: Hezbollah arms flow may signal plans for war with Israel
State Dept. official tells Al-Hayat that flow of arms into south Lebanon clearly breaches UN Resolution 1701.
The U.S. is concerned that the continued flow of arms to the Hezbollah militant organization could prompt a war between Israel and Lebanon, State Department official Jeff Feltman said in remarks published Sunday by the London-based Al-Hayat daily.
Feltman, who serves as Assistant Secretary of U.S. State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, told the daily that the U.S. had no evidence of any Israeli plan to attack its northern neighbor.
Nevertheless, Feltman said he was growing increasingly worried by reports describing the quantity and types of weapons being smuggled to the terrorist organization in clear violation of United Nations Resolution 1701, which put an end to the 2006 war.
The UN resolution clearly demanded a weapons-free south Lebanon, said Feltman, but the world had yet to see that put into play.
With regard to the possibility of a future peace deal between Lebanon and Israel, Feltman said that he believed Lebanon preferred to see a Palestinian-Israeli agreement reached first.
When asked about negotiations between Syria and Israel, Feltman said U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell had passed on to Jerusalem a message from Damascus on the matter, but that progress was slow.
Feltman also said that the U.S. wanted to see the Palestinian Authority resume negotiations with Israel in order to resolve the issue of West Bank settlements. Once borders were determined, said Feltman, the issue of settlements would be easier to solve.