Tillerson says USA never gave 'heavy arms' to Syrian Kurdish YPG

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Tillerson's visit, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State to Lebanon since 2014, got off to an awkward start as he waited several minutes in Baabda Palace for his meeting with President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally.

"Lebanese partnership as the two countries work together to pursue common goals that advance Lebanon's sovereignty, stability, and prosperity", the US embassy said on its Twitter page. He said Lebanon was sticking by its internationally recognised borders, and rejected Israeli claims over a disputed maritime zone.

Tillerson's visit comes in the wake of Lebanon signing its first offshore oil and gas exploration agreements with an global consortium of energy companies, comprising France's Total, Italy's Eni and Russia's Novatek.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the US has "never" given the Syrian Kurdish militia heavy weapons.

"We try to be very precise in the actions we take to not harm the Lebanese people", he said during an interview with Al Hurra TV. Aoun discussed the highly contentious issue with the US Secretary of State, who is now in Beirut. "We are engaging with the governments of both Lebanon and Israel to ensure Lebanon's southern border remains calm", Tillerson said.

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"Hebollah's entanglement in regional conflicts threatens the security of Lebanon", he added.

Tillerson arrived in the Lebanese capital earlier in the day as part of a regional tour.

Israel has recently escalated its threats over Lebanon's invitation for offshore gas exploration bids along the countries' maritime border.

The long-standing dispute resurfaced recently as Lebanon invited companies to sign exploration deals.

The grueling process, which began in 2011, will pave the way for drilling to begin in 2019 if the dispute is resolved, as Lebanon seeks to enter the hydrocarbon race in the region. USA officials have previously tried to mediate the dispute.

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