US cannot disarm Lebanon’s Hezbollah through sanctions: Russian ambassador to Beirut
The Russian ambassador to Lebanon says Washington will not manage to disarm the popular Hezbollah resistance movement through sanctions, stating that US officials are under an illusion they can accomplish such an objective by means of punitive measures.
“Disarming Hezbollah is the primary purpose of US sanctions… I do not think that such a goal would be achieved through this method. The United States will not manage to force Hezbollah into laying down its weapons. This is an illusion,” Zasypkin said in an exclusive interview with Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Friday.
In late October 2018, US President Donald Trump's administration imposed a new round of sanctions on Hezbollah, targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.
“Over the past year, we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah, in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them," Trump said during an event in Washington, DC, that marked the 35th anniversary of an attack on US marine barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.
Zasypkin added, “We (Russia) have made efforts in Syria. This is not only beneficial to Syria, but also to Lebanon as it protects the country against the potential threat of terrorism. If terrorism prevails in Syria, it will be easy for thousands of terrorists to cross into Lebanon, and this would lead to the partitioning of the country.”
He noted that Iran plays a positive role in the West Asia region, condemning the recent harassment of an Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut by two US fighter jets over Syria.
“Americans are creating problems and violating international law. The goal is to create tensions and reestablish their presence, role and influence,” the Russian diplomat said.
He went on to say that the balance of power in Syria is changing. “Over the past four years, the balance of power had been in the interest of terrorists. The ensuing terrorism allowed outsiders, including the US-led coalition, to come into play.”
“I think Americans have numerous problems there (in Syria), but al-Tanf region is still under their control. They are clinging to the area in order to have influence. Their main goal is to sever ties between Iran and Syria,” Zasypkin pointed out.
He noted that Moscow honors the principle of non-interference in Syria’s domestic affairs, lauding “close relations” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad as well as military forces of the two countries.
Zasypkin said Russian and Syrian institutions are closely cooperating with each other in various fields, including combat against terrorism, maintenance, reconstruction and humanitarian activities.