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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Gargash: Lebanon must not be haven for Houthis after Hezbollah meeting 

Hassan Nasrallah has held a meeting with senior Houthi political officials

Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah met with Houthi spokesman Mohamad Abdelsalam and council members Abdul Malik Al Ajri and Ibrahim Al Daylami. Hezbollah media relations HO
Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah met with Houthi spokesman Mohamad Abdelsalam and council members Abdul Malik Al Ajri and Ibrahim Al Daylami. Hezbollah media relations HO

Lebanon must not become a haven for the Houthis, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Sunday after the Hezbollah secretary general met a senior delegation from the Yemeni rebels.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah held a meeting with senior Houthi political officials on Saturday, the party’s media outlets reported. He met with a delegation that included spokesman Mohamad Abdelsalam and council members Abdul Malik Al Ajri and Ibrahim Al Daylami.

"Lebanon cannot be a logistical or political station for Houthis and ignoring the issue will exacerbate its repercussions,” Mr Gargash said in a series of tweets after the news broke.

How is the policy of disassociation, which Lebanon needs for its political and economic balance and its Arab and international positions, [affected] with Hassan Nasrallah receiving a delegation of Houthi rebels," he asked.

Few details of Mr Nasrallah’s meetings were released and even media outlets affiliated or close to Hezbollah, a militia turned political party, carried only scant details. However, the delegation was reported to have discussed the latest developments in the Yemeni conflict. A handout photo of the meeting was distributed by Hezbollah, Houthi and Iranian news outlets.

Hezbollah is believed to train and support the Iran-backed Houthis against Yemen's internationally recognised government of Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. The group denies involvement, however, there are numerous indicators of Hezbollah's assistance.

They have been accused of assisting the Houthis fire Iranian supplied ballistic missiles towards Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah has huge stockpiles of ballistic missiles and decades of experience in maintaining and firing them in their long-running resistance to Israeli occupation of Lebanon and the subsequent 2006 war.

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Nasrallah has praised the Houthis, saying they are fighting against ‘imperialism’, but has denied involvement in assisting the rebels over missiles. The Arab-led coalition – including Saudi Arabia and the UAE – intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 to back Mr Hadi’s government.

Earlier this year, the coalition reported it had killed eight Hezbollah fighters in northern Yemen, a claim the group denied.