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Lebanon, Israel exchange messages through US

Lebanese soldiers stand guard at the Lebanon-Syria border with armoured vehicles after the "Dawn of the Mountains" operation against Daesh was completed on 28 August 2017 [Muhammed Ali Akman/Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese soldiers stand guard at the Lebanon-Syria border with armoured vehicles after the "Dawn of the Mountains" operation against Daesh was completed on 28 August 2017 [Muhammed Ali Akman/Anadolu Agency]

Israel and Lebanon are holding indirect talks using the US as a messenger, Israeli media has reported.

During a meeting in Washington a few days ago, US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford conveyed a messaged from Lebanon to his Israeli counterpart, Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot.

This came after a similar meeting took place between the American official and the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, General Joseph Aoun, days earlier, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The paper said it is believed that the officials discussed US and Israeli concerns about Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon.

According to the paper, since 2006 the United States has provided the Lebanese Forces with military equipments worth about $1.7 billion since 2006 while arms exports from Washington to Beirut continue, noting that Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, Tina Kaidanow had confirmed that Washington takes all necessary measures to make sure that such weapons do not reach the hands of Hezbollah.

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Israel’s Walla news site said the Lebanese army chief of staff received in Washington a message from the Israeli government warning of possible provocations by Hezbollah after the war in Syria ends and the militia fighters return to their homeland.

The website quoted sources in the Israeli security services as saying that Dunford delivered “clear messages” from Israel to Lebanon, including Tel Aviv’s absolute rejection of any change to the current situation in the border between the two countries and warning of serious consequences to be brought by Hezbollah provocations there.

According to the website, the Israeli government fears that after the fighting ends in Syria, Hezbollah – with the support of thousands of Shia fighters led by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – will try to help the Syrian government regain control of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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