United States pledges $140 million to Lebanon in Syrian refugee aid

Prime Minister Saad al Hariri meets with a delegation from the US Senate in Washington

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met U.S. President Donald Trump this week.

The US has long struggled with its narrative on Hezbollah, presenting them as straightforward terrorists while simultaneously coping with the reality that they're a powerful political movement.

Trump, who has sought to halt the acceptance of Syrian refugees into the United States and vowed cuts to U.S. foreign aid programmes, stressed the importance of helping people close to home and said the USA would continue to provide humanitarian support to efforts in Lebanon.

Hariri for his part stressed that the Lebanese government "is committed to U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 as well as all UNSC resolutions".

"(T) he Lebanese Army has been fighting continually to guard Lebanon's border and prevent ISIS and other terrorists - of which there are many - from gaining a foothold inside their country", Trump said.

Speaking to reporters later in the day, Mr Hariri was careful to sidestep questions about whether the president did not understand Hezbollah's function within the Lebanese state and outside it.

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"We believe that dialogue is the best way (of) improving this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar", Hariri said. In fact, Hezbollah, which is fighting ISIS in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime, enjoys broad support in Lebanon.

President Donald Trump, with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaks during their joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

Describing Lebanon as a model for coexistence, the prime minister said: "In a region fraught with religious and sectarian violence, in a world where coexistence between Islam and Christianity is increasingly portrayed as impossible, Lebanon offers a model; a model of coexistence, of dialogue and of political solution". Still, faced with the prospect of a defunct LAF as the Syria war wages on, even hawks balk at eliminating or reducing United States funding for the LAF.

The Lebanese government is indeed fighting against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

On Friday, Hezbollah worked with Syrian forces to push Islamist radicals off the Lebanese border.

President Trump himself praised the LAF's role in counterterrorism operations during a press conference with Hariri on Tuesday, indicating that the United States will continue to provide Lebanon with military assistance. He also hoped to appeal to lawmakers to make sanctions against Hezbollah as specific as possible, so that they do not hurt Lebanon. Foreign Policy reported that Lebanese lawmakers responded by lobbying their U.S. counterparts in Congress against the legislation.

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