U.S. Secretary Tillerson and Argentine FM Faurie in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, February 4, 2018. Sebastian Pani (AP)

U.S. and Argentina to Work Together to Cut Off Hezbollah Funding

Speaking in Buenos Aires, Tillerson says Hezbollah is using transnational criminal networks to fund terrorist activities

The United States and Argentina announced on Sunday they will cooperate to cut off Hezbollah's funding networks in South America.

In a joint press conference in Buenos Aires on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. administration intends to combat funding networks established between Hezbollah and South American crime organizations.

"With respect to Hezbollah, we also did speak today in our discussions about all of the reasons why we must jointly go after these trans-criminal organizations – narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling, money laundering – because we see the connections to terrorist financing organizations as well," Tillerson said. "And we did specifically discuss the presence of Lebanese Hezbollah in this hemisphere, which is raising funds obviously to support their terrorist activities. So it is something that we jointly agree we need to attack and eliminate."

Standing beside Tillerson, Argentinian Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie refrained from naming Hezbollah specifically, and said his government is closely monitoring developments in transnational criminal activities, calling south America "a zone of peace" that should not be jeopardized by the actions of "external groups."

"We need to intensify every possible exchange, not only in terms of dialogue but also in terms of information on the actions of these groups which take advantage of transnational crime to foster their interests, which Argentina certainly does not agree with," added Faure.

Last week the U.S. labeled Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh a "global terrorist, a title used to describe leaders of international terror organizations or perpetrators of mass-scale terror attacks.

Under the label, Haniyeh will not be able to visit the United States or hold assets within it and American citizens are forbidden from making any financial or legal transactions with him. 

The Gaza-based militant group Hamas has been officially considered a terror organization by the United States for decades.

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