The US envoy to Lebanon said on Monday that head of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil, who has been sanctioned by the United States, had voiced willingness to sever ties with Hezbollah, challenging his assertion that he rejected the idea outright.
The US on Friday blacklisted Bassil, son-in-law of Lebanon’s president and leader of its biggest parliamentary bloc, over charges of corruption and ties with the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which Washington deems a terrorist group. Bassil slammed the sanctions as unjust and politically motivated, saying they were imposed after he refused to submit to a US demand to break ties with Hezbollah as that would risk Lebanon’s national unity and peace. US Ambassador Dorothy Shea told Lebanon’s Al Jadeed TV that Bassil, in exchanges with her, had “expressed willingness to break with Hezbollah, on certain conditions.
“He actually expressed gratitude that the United States had gotten him to see how the relationship is disadvantageous to the party,” said Shea, without elaborating on the conditions.