US envoy in Lebanon says 'page turned' after interview ban

US envoy in Lebanon says 'page turned' after interview ban

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Shea speaks during a news conference in Beirut
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea speaks during a news conference after meeting with Lebanon's Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beirut, Lebanon June 29, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The US ambassador in Lebanon said on Monday (Jun 29) the page had been turned on an incident sparked by a court ruling banning media in the country from interviewing her after she heaped criticism on the Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

A Shi’ite judge in the southern city of Tyre ruled on Saturday that comments made by Ambassador Dorothy Shea had incited sectarian strife, and banned media in Lebanon from interviewing her for a year.

The foreign minister in Lebanon's Hezbollah-backed government summoned Shea to the ministry on Monday.

"We turned the page on this unfortunate distraction so we could all focus on the real crisis at end, which is the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon," Shea told journalists at the foreign ministry after the meeting.

The United States classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti emphasised the importance of media freedom and the right to free expression during the meeting, the ministry said in a statement.

Lebanon is grappling with an acute economic crisis seen as the worst threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

Source: Reuters

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