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BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – Lebanese President General Michel Aoun told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday that Hezbollah is a Lebanese party represented in parliament and government.

General Aoun told the visiting U.S. diplomat that Hezbollah’s presence in Lebanon stems from a popular base that denotes one of the main sects in the country.

“Maintaining national unity and civil peace is a priority for us,” President Aoun told Secretary Pompeo during his meeting with him at the Baabda palace.

Aoun also solicited US support for Lebanon to secure the repatriation of the Syrian refugees to the safe areas in Syria, noting that Lebanon has hosted more than 1.5 million Syrians inside its territory and is no longer capable of bearing the repercussions of such displacement on all daily living-related sectors.

Aoun stressed that the arrangements for the return of refugees will continue in accordance with the mechanism set by the Lebanese General Security.

On the other hand, Aoun welcomed the United States’ assistance in the demarcation of the land border known as the “Blue Line,” saying that “such an action strengthens security and stability in the south.”

The head of state underlined Lebanon’s commitment to the implementation of U.N. Resolution 1701 to maintain stability along the southern border despite the ongoing Israeli violations by land, air, and sea.

Aoun thanked Minister Pompeo for his country’s assistance to the Lebanese Army, especially during the war of liberating the Beqaa Governorate from terrorist groups like the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) and Jabhat Al-Nusra.

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Pompeo, for his part, affirmed his country’s keenness to strengthen US..-Lebanese relations and ongoing support to the Lebanese armed forces.

The U.S. Secretary of State also stressed his country’s readiness to contribute to the demarcation of land and sea borders.

He also spoke about his country’s position regarding Hezbollah and Iran.

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