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US special envoy visits Lebanon, calls to de-escalate border tensions with Israel

'The U.S. does not want to see conflict in Gaza escalating,' says Hochstein

U.S. Special Envoy Amos Hochstein meets with Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut, Lebanon Nov. 7, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

U.S. special envoy, Amos Hochstein, called to de-escalate the tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border during his visit to the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.

“The United States does not want to see conflict in Gaza escalating and expanding into Lebanon,” Hochstein said during a press conference in Beirut after meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

“Restoring calm along the southern border is of utmost importance to the United States and it should be the highest priority for both Lebanon and Israel,” he said in reference to the recent military aggression by the Hezbollah terror organization.

This is Hochstein’s first visit to Lebanon since the war began on Oct. 7, when the Hamas terror organization carried out a murderous assault against Israel that killed some 1,400 people, wounding thousands more and abducting at least 240 hostages to Gaza.

The U.S. and Israel have made major efforts to deter Hezbollah, the Iranian ayatollah regime's terror-proxy group in Lebanon, from joining the war.

Israel has concentrated large forces on its borders and fought daily skirmishes with Hezbollah and Hamas forces in southern Lebanon. In addition, the United States has transferred two carrier strike groups to the Middle East and reinforced existing bases in the region.

Hochstein is the special presidential coordinator for Global Infrastructure and Energy Security and has visited both Lebanon and Israel several times this year to help calm the tensions on the border.

Israeli-born Hochstein became the go-to U.S. diplomat for mediation between Israel and Lebanon, having been instrumental in realizing a maritime border agreement between the two nations in 2022.

At the time there were concerns that Hezbollah would oppose the maritime deal but ultimately, the agreement was signed.

However, Hezbollah has subsequently become more aggressive toward Israel, taking measures to defy that agreement.

In late June, UNIFIL confirmed that Hezbollah had illegally built tents on the Israeli side of the border in a contested area known as Shebaa Farms, which were later dismantled by Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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