Washington ‘strongly supports’ Lebanon & PM Hariri – Tillerson

Washington “strongly supports” Lebanon’s independence, warning the Middle East against using the country “as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement Friday. Tillerson also called former Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri Washington’s “strong partner,” urging all parties “both within Lebanon and outside” to respect “legitimate institutions,” including the government and armed forces. On Saturday, Hariri stepped down in a televised statement recorded from Saudi Arabia. The Hezbollah leader Nassan Nasrallah called it an “unprecedented Saudi intervention,” claiming that Riyadh is holding Hariri against his will, as it tries "to sow the seeds of discord among various political factions here and pit them against each other."