WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama extended for another year Wednesday sanctions against entities the U.S. considers threatening to Lebanon’s stability, a veiled reference to supporters of Hezbollah.
Obama said in a message to Congress that he would prolong the “national emergency” which former president George W. Bush first declared in 2007, and which has been renewed each year since.
The measures include freezing the assets of people considered to be threatening to Lebanon’s democracy or stability.
“Certain ongoing activities, such as continuing arms transfers to Hezbollah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in Lebanon, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the president wrote.
Obama mentioned “Syrian interference in Lebanon” but did not explicitly reference the current conflict in Syria. However, sectarian violence has flared on a number of occasions in Beirut since the revolt broke out in neighboring Syria in March last year.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 25, 2012, on page 1.