US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Hale launched a violent attack on Iran and Hezbollah in a speech he delivered during the Second International Conference in Support of Beirut and the Lebanese People, which was held in Paris earlier this week, diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The sources said that Hale warned of “the deadly influence of Hezbollah and Iran,” blaming the party for widespread corruption and the collapse in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the international conference, which was hosted by Paris in cooperation with the United Nations, accused the Lebanese political class of obstructing the provision of financial and economic aid to the country by delaying the formation of a new government.
The virtual conference, devoted to providing humanitarian aid through civil society organizations and the Lebanese army, was sponsored by French President Emmanuel Macron and attended by several heads of states and representatives of international organizations.
In his speech, Macron addressed the representatives of Lebanese civil society groups, ignoring the presence of President Michel Aoun and the political forces whom he regards as directly responsible for obstructing the birth of a strong government that adopts the road map that was agreed upon during his visit to Beirut.
Macron’s insistence on the need to speed up the birth of the new cabinet has raised the level of embarrassment for both Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.
In this regard, political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hariri would not remain silent, and would be forced to announce his coming steps at any moment, even if he reserved for himself the right to choose the appropriate timing to respond to Aoun’s accusations regarding the formation process.