BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 10 (UPI) -- Hezbollah in Lebanon said an assessment by a top U.S. diplomat of the Shiite movement showed Washington was supporting Israeli hostility in the region.
Jeffrey Feltman, acting assistant secretary of state in the bureau of near eastern affairs, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Middle East affairs that Hezbollah remained a key threat to regional stability and U.S. national security interests.
Hezbollah in a statement responded to Feltman's testimony by saying it was disappointed by the level of Israeli influence in U.S. foreign policy, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reports.
"The remarks made by Feltman reveal that he plays the role of an Israeli official in the U.S. and will pursue the maneuvers and instigations of strife he started in Lebanon," the Shiite movement said.
The secretary told U.S. lawmakers that Hezbollah maintains a "potent" militia in the region, adding the organization was "the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world."
Hezbollah said Feltman's testimony was delivered to placate to Israeli military demands.
"This denotes Zionist hostility and once again demonstrates the (Washington's) readiness to support this hostility," said Hezbollah.
Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. envoy to Lebanon and Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, however, that it was time to talk to Hezbollah.
"Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese political landscape and we should deal with it directly," said Crocker.
Hezbollah is still on the list of U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
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