Hariri Meets Trump: Lebanon's Stability, Economy My Sole Concern

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"Hizbullah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region", Trump said at a joint press conference alongside Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House.

Early in the offensive, Saraya Ahl al-Sham - the FSA rebel faction that had a small presence in the area - pulled its fighters from the front lines, Nasrallah said.

For Mr Hariri, continuing USA support for the Lebanese military and maintaining his governing coalition - which includes members of Hizbollah's Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc - will define the success of the visit.

"Threats to the Lebanese people come from inside as well".

Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that Trump's praise for and encouragement of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as a counter-force to Hezbollah is misplaced because Hezbollah controls Lebanon.

Syrian children stand near their tent at a refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese border town of Arsal, Lebanon, on Monday, November 18, 2013.

"We are seeking to develop partnership with the bank (World Bank) to be able to improve the Lebanese economy, particularly at this hard stage, whether in respect to growth in Lebanon or the deficit from which we are suffering in light of the presence of the displaced Syrians", he added. "They are in the parliament".

The US has long condemned the group, and it has been a designated foreign terrorist organisation by the US since 1997.

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Officials in Lebanon have raised concerns that US efforts to widen sanctions on Hezbollah could damage the banking industry because of the group's widespread influence in their country.

While acknowledging that the Trump national security team is "far more hawkish" than that of Barack Obama, "much of the focus on Lebanon is tied to an nearly obsessive focus on Hizbollah", said Mr Nerguizian.

Since the onset of the Syrian conflict, almost 1.5 million refugees have poured into Lebanon - around a quarter of its population - where most languish in severe poverty.

"We believe that dialogue is the best way (of) improving this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar", Hariri said.

When asked a follow up question on his position towards U.S. sanctions on Hezbollah, Trump said he would be making his position "very clear" in the next 24 hours.

"I'll be making my position very clear over the next 24 hours", he said.

Trump's comments were met with silence from Hariri, who later told reporters that Trump was "well-informed" about Hezbollah during their meeting, the Washington Post reported.

Trump was correct, however, that Lebanon is fighting Islamic State in Syria, via Hezbollah, which is aiding Syrian President Bashar Assad. And I hope that in our talk we will have much more - you know, much more talk about this issue.

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