Minister Mohammad Fneish arrives at the Parliament in Beirut, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Hezbollah's demands to take over the Health Ministry in the upcoming Cabinet could spark several negative repercussions against U.S. aid to Lebanon, Washington analysts believe.Hezbollah's caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Mohammad Fneish said Wednesday that a promise from Speaker Nabih Berri to give Hezbollah the ministry would be upheld.Hezbollah and the Amal Movement who together won 26 of 27 parliamentary seats reserved for the Shiite sect in the May elections have both announced that an agreement was reached between the two to grant Hezbollah the Health Ministry.Joe Macaron, a fellow at the Arab Center Washington D.C., told The Daily Star that the issue of Hezbollah's participation in the upcoming government could be a "make or break issue" for U.S. assistance to Lebanon. Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri warned last week that granting Hezbollah the Health Ministry would have consequences on potential loans.In response to concerns that there could be a halt in financial aid to the ministry if it goes to Hezbollah, Fneish stated that it would be "an insult to [Lebanon]" to allow any country to dictate what parties can or cannot have certain portfolios.
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