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Report: London is mediating indirect secret talks between US and Hezbollah
By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON
11/27/2013
Talks reportedly deal with fight against al-Qaida, regional stability and other Lebanese political issues.
 
The US and Hezbollah are in secret indirect talks managed by London dealing with the fight against Al-Qaida, regional stability and other Lebanese political issues.

Senior British diplomatic sources, quoted in a report in Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai on Wednesday, said British diplomats are holding discussions with leaders of the Lebanese organization and transferring the information to the Americans.

The discussions “are aimed at keeping tabs on the changes in the region and the world, and prepare for the upcoming return of Iran to the international community,” according to diplomatic sources in Washington.

Because the US, unlike the UK, recognizes both the political and military wings of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and refuses to distinguish between them, US officials cannot legally meet with any member of the party. But according to the sources, the US is willing to hear the views of the party and “warm up to a direct relationship in the future.”

Al-Rai noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron last week, and placed the talks with Iranian-backed Hezbollah in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the West and Tehran, which show Washington’s willingness for diplomacy with the Islamic Republic.

Relations between Britain and Iran deteriorated after Iranians stormed the British embassy in Tehran in November 2011. But in October, Britain and Iran decided to renew diplomatic relations, and Britain named a new chargé d’affaires to Iran.
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