Trump administration lifts hold on Lebanon security aid: source


U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for travel to the United Kingdom from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has lifted a “hold” on security aid for Lebanon, a congressional aide said on Monday, more than a month after it began withholding the money.

As first reported by Reuters, the U.S. State Department told Congress on Oct. 31 that the White House budget office and National Security Council had decided to withhold $105 million in foreign military assistance, without providing any explanation of why it was blocked.

The congressional aide said on Monday the administration had still provided no explanation for the decision to withhold the money, which had been approved by Congress and the State Department.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Members of Congress and U.S. diplomats had strongly opposed the decision to withhold the aid, saying it was crucial to support Lebanon’s military amid instability within the country and the region.

Lebanon also houses thousands of refugees from war in neighboring Syria.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney



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