Lebanon’s central bank governor says a senior US Treasury official is visiting Beirut to explain the motives behind recent US sanctions targeting Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by countries and groups including the US, UK, and the Arab League.
Treasury Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, Marshall Billingslea, who is on a two-day visit to Lebanon, met Monday with the prime minister, parliament speaker and the central bank governor.
Central Bank chief Riad Salameh played down reports in local media that the US will impose further sanctions on Lebanon’s dollar-strapped banking system saying that Billingslea “is not coming here to squeeze Lebanon.”
Last month, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Jammal Trust Bank and added it to its list of global terrorist organizations.
The bank denied US charges about “knowingly facilitating banking activities” for Hezbollah militants.
On Monday Salameh also insisted that Lebanese banks were meeting customer demand for US dollars which are still available at ATMs in most banks, if not all of them.