Report: US, Hezbollah Holding Secret Talks

Wednesday, 27 Nov 2013 07:36 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The United States and terror group Hezbollah are in a secret dialogue to deal with the fight against al-Qaida, regional stability, and Lebanese political issues, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

British diplomats are holding discussions with leaders of the Lebanese-based radical Shiite group, then transferring the information to the Americans, the Post reported, citing information from Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai.

The United States considers Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization but is willing to hear its views and "warm up to a direct relationship in the future," Washington diplomatic sources told the Post.

Talks "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," those sources said, the Post reported.

Al-Rai noted that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron last week, and placed the talks in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the West and Tehran, the Post said.

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.

Relations between the United States and Iran may be taking a new turn as well in the wake of a proposed deal on Iran's nuclear program, though Republicans remain skeptical.

On Nov. 4, Naharnet, a Lebanese news site, reported on the secret talks, citing the Kuwaiti Al-Anbaa newspaper.

Al-Anbaa quoted a pro-Western, March 14 coalition lawmaker as saying, "Relations between the [Hezbollah] and the U.S. are developing positively."

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