May 14, 2018 / 12:15 PM / 2 months ago

Trump's Middle East moves fuel tensions: Lebanon

BRUSSELS/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s foreign minister on Monday called the U.S. decisions to move its embassy to Jerusalem and to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal policy failures that will lead to more tensions and extremism in the region.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, whose Free Patriotic Movement is politically aligned with the Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah, told Reuters that moving the U.S. embassy in Israel would undermine peace in the Middle East.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, in a separate statement issued in Beirut, called it a provocative move that would “put all peace paths in the region in front of a dead end” and exacerbate violence and extremism. “We affirm our complete solidarity with the Palestinian brothers in their legitimate struggle,” he added.

Bassil said that alongside President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. moves added to a long list of U.S. policy failures in the region.

“This is a move that will cause more tensions and lead to more extremism in the region,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels. “We cannot accept to have any kind of peace while Jerusalem is being kidnapped.”

“This is another failure,” Bassil told Reuters. “Israel has declared a long time ago that it is seeking anything but peace, but now the United States is backing Israel in its policy of launching wars against the peoples of the region.”

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel @AdeCar Editing by Phil Blenkinsop and David Stamp

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