Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Rubio Begins Middle East Visit

MAR 18 2017
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, is in the Middle East this weekend on an official visit conducting oversight of U.S. programs abroad.

On his official Facebook page this morning, Rubio issued the following statement:

"This weekend, I am in the Middle East on an official visit conducting oversight of U.S. programs abroad as a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence. I just concluded my visit to Beirut, Lebanon, where I met with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri and government officials to discuss regional security.

"I stressed to our Lebanese partners the importance of cracking down on the terrorist group Hezbollah. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and I were sponsors of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2015. This law blocks the terrorist organization's financing and limits its access to logistical support. Prime Minister Al-Hariri and I discussed ways to address Hezbollah's threat to regional stability, and the necessity of helping to build the capability of the Lebanese Armed Forces to confront terrorist threats.

"As always, I continue to be impressed by the work of Americans who serve abroad in our Beirut embassy and throughout the world as members of the Foreign Service. It is critical that we support their work in advancing our interests, as well as the goals of our international assistance programs.

"I was also honored to visit the Beirut Memorial, a tribute to the 241 U.S. service personnel, including 220 Marines, who lost their lives in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. While I was there, I remembered those who were killed during this terrorist attack orchestrated by Hezbollah and prayed for their families. They continue to be in our thoughts and prayers."

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Senator Richard Burr Visits Lebanon

March 18, 2017
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) led a delegation of five senators including Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) on a visit to Lebanon from March 17 to March 18. The delegation met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri during their visit and discussed the close relationship and security cooperation between the United States and Lebanon. The delegation's visit underscores United States support for Lebanon, the Lebanese Armed Forces, and Lebanon's institutions.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

U.S. Ambassador Delivers Equipment to the ISF

March 9, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth H. Richard participated today in a ceremony to celebrate the delivery of approximately $1 million dollars' worth of equipment to the Internal Security Forces (ISF), highlighting U.S. commitment to Lebanon's state institutions.

Ambassador Richard said the U.S. is proud to deliver this much needed equipment and reiterated America's partnership with Lebanon in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

The gear and equipment delivered today is part of the U.S. State Department's Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, which also included five courses of training to advance the ISF as a sophisticated, capable, and professional police force.  The equipment and training is part of long-standing U.S. support to develop Lebanon's border and internal security.

U.S. assistance to the ISF is a vital aspect of the cooperation between the two countries. The United States remains committed to strengthening the capacity of the ISF to combat terrorism, promote rule of law, ensure human rights and dignity, and maintain stability and safety.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Travel Warning – Lebanon

February 15, 2017

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon because of the threats of terrorism, armed clashes, kidnapping, and outbreaks of violence, especially near Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel. U.S. citizens living and working in Lebanon should be aware of the risks of remaining in the country and should carefully consider those risks.  This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 29, 2016.  

In the event that the security climate in Lebanon worsens, U.S. citizens will be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Lebanon.  The Embassy does not offer protection services to U.S. citizens who feel unsafe.  U.S. citizens with special medical or other needs should be aware of the risks of remaining given their condition, and should be prepared to seek treatment in Lebanon if they cannot arrange for travel out of the country.  

There is potential for death or injury in Lebanon because of terrorist bombings and attacks.  Violent extremist groups operate in Lebanon, including U.S. government-designated terrorist organizations Hizballah, ISIL (Da'esh), Al-Nusrah Front (ANF), Hamas, and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (AAB).  ISIL and ANF have claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Lebanon. U.S. citizens have been the targets of terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past. The threat of anti-Western terrorist activity persists, as does the risk of death or injury as a non-targeted bystander.   

The Lebanese government cannot guarantee the protection of U.S. citizens against sudden outbreaks of violence, which can occur at any time in Lebanon.  Armed clashes have occurred along the Lebanese borders and in Beirut.  On August 31, 2016, a bomb exploded on a main road near the eastern Lebanese city of Zahleh, killing at least one person and wounding 11 others.  On June 27, 2016, a series of blasts caused by suicide bombers in Qa'a, a town along Lebanon's northeastern border, killed five people and injured many others.  On June 12, 2016, an explosion occurred outside a commercial bank in the central Beirut area of Verdun, causing major damage to the building and injuring two people. On November 12, 2015, twin suicide bombings in a commercial and residential area of the Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut's southern suburbs killed 43 people and wounded 239 others.  On January 21, 2017, Lebanese security forces thwarted an attempted suicide attack at a busy café on Hamra Street in downtown Beirut.  The Lebanese Armed Forces are routinely brought in to quell the violence in these situations.  

Family, neighborhood, or sectarian disputes can escalate quickly and can lead to gunfire or other violence with no warning.  Also, celebratory gunfire in Lebanon has resulted in accidental injuries and deaths.  In Tripoli, the neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen remain tense.  Armed clashes have resulted in deaths and injuries in these neighborhoods in the past, and there are potentially large numbers of weapons in the hands of non-governmental elements.     

Public demonstrations can occur with little warning and could become violent.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings.Protesters have blocked major roads to gain publicity for their causes, including the primary road between downtown Beirut and Rafiq Hariri International Airport.  Access to the airport may be cut off if the security situation deteriorates.   

Kidnapping, whether for ransom, political motives, or family disputes, has occurred in Lebanon.  Suspects in kidnappings may have ties to terrorist or criminal organizations.  The U.S. government's ability to help U.S. citizens kidnapped or taken hostage is limited.  Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped U.S. citizens, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to hostage takers.  U.S. law makes it illegal to provide material support to terrorist organizations.   

AREAS OF SPECIAL CONCERN  

Avoid the Lebanon-Syria border region:  U.S. citizens in Lebanon should monitor political and security developments in both Lebanon and Syria.  The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid the Lebanese-Syrian border region.  There have been incidents of cross-border shelling and air strikes of Lebanese villages from Syria, resulting in deaths and injuries.  There have been episodic clashes between the Lebanese Army and Syrian-based extremists along the border with Syria since August 2014.   On March 24, 2016, a roadside bomb targeting a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded several others in Lebanon's restive northeast border town of Arsal.  On November 5, 2015, a deadly blast ripped through Arsal, killing at least four people and wounding several others. The November attack, caused by a suicide bomber using a motorbike, targeted a meeting in the al-Sabil neighborhood of the Committee of Qalamoun Scholars.  The next day, a Lebanese Armed Forces patrol in al-Sabil was targeted by a roadside explosive device.  There have also been reports of armed groups from Syria kidnapping or attacking Lebanese citizens living in border areas.  

Avoid the Lebanon-Israel border region:  There are border tensions to the south with Israel, and the U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid this border.  In January 2015, hostilities between Israel and Hizballah flared in the Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms area, and the potential for wider conflict remains.  South of the Litani River, Hizballah has stockpiled large amounts of munitions in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel.  There have been sporadic rocket attacks from southern Lebanon into Israel in connection with the violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  These attacks, normally consisting of rockets fired at northern Israel, often provoke a prompt Israeli military response.  The rocket attacks and responses can occur without warning.  Landmines and unexploded ordnance pose significant dangers throughout southern Lebanon, particularly south of the Litani River, as well as in areas of the country where fighting was intense during the civil war.  More than 40 civilians have been killed and more than 300 injured by unexploded ordnance since the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war.  Travelers should watch for posted landmine warnings and strictly avoid all areas where landmines and unexploded ordnance may be present.  

Avoid the Bekaa Valley:  Clashes between Lebanese authorities and criminal elements continue to occur in areas of the Bekaa Valley and border regions.  Hizballah maintains a strong presence in the Bekaa Valley, in addition to areas in southern Lebanon and south Beirut.  Hizballah has been the target of attacks by other extremist groups for their support of the Asad regime in Syria.   

Avoid travel to refugee camps:  Violence within refugee camps has resulted in shootings and explosions. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to refugee camps. Palestinian groups hostile to both the Lebanese government and the United States operate autonomously in formal and informal refugee camps in different areas of the country.   On April 12, 2016, a car bomb explosion killed a senior Palestinian official near the Ein al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in the southern port city of Sidon.   

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risk of traveling on airlines that fly over Syria.  Commercial aircraft are at risk when flying over regions in conflict.  We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens considering air travel overseas evaluate the route that their proposed commercial flight may take and avoid any flights that pass through Syrian airspace.  U.S. government personnel in Lebanon have been prohibited from taking flights that pass through Syrian airspace.   

The Department of State considers the threat to U.S. government personnel in Beirut sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under strict security restrictions.  The internal security policies of the U.S. Embassy may be adjusted at any time and without advance notice.  These practices limit, and may prevent, access by U.S. Embassy officials to certain areas of the country, especially to parts of metropolitan Beirut, Tripoli, the Bekaa Valley, refugee camps, and southern Lebanon.   

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations, such as the evacuation that took place from Lebanon in 2006, occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist, and they are not guaranteed even when commercial travel options are limited or non-existent.  Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs.   U.S. citizens in Lebanon should ensure that they have valid U.S. passports, as lack of documentation could hinder U.S. citizens' ability to depart the country.  Additional information on the Department's role during emergencies is provided on the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website.    

For more information:  



Friday, February 03, 2017

Treasury Sanctions Supporters of Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force

2/3/2017 

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned multiple entities and individuals involved in procuring technology and/or materials to support Iran's ballistic missile program, as well as for acting for or on behalf of, or providing support to, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).
This action reflects the United States' commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities in the region and is fully consistent with the United States' commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  More specifically: 
  • OFAC designated several networks and supporters of Iran's ballistic missile procurement, including a critical Iranian procurement agent and eight individuals and entities in his Iran- and China-based network, an Iranian procurement company and its Gulf-based network, and five individuals and entities that are part of an Iran-based procurement network connected to Mabrooka Trading, which was designated on January 17, 2016.  This action was taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, which targets proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and supporters of such activity.
  • OFAC designated a key IRGC-QF-run support network working with Hizballah, including IRGC-QF official Hasan Deghan Ebrahimi, his associates Muhammad Abd-al-Amir Farhat and Yahya al-Hajj, and several affiliated companies in Lebanon.  This action was taken pursuant to E.O. 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.  The IRGC-QF was designated under E.O. 13224 on October 25, 2007 for its support to numerous terrorist groups. 
  • OFAC designated Ali Sharifi, an individual providing procurement and other services on behalf of the IRGC-QF.  This action was taken pursuant to E.O. 13224.
"Iran's continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide, and to the United States.  Today's action is part of Treasury's ongoing efforts to counter Iranian malign activity abroad that is outside the scope of the JCPOA," said Acting OFAC Director John E. Smith.  "We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior."
 
As a result of this action, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
 
Abdollah Asgharzadeh Network
Abdollah Asgharzadeh is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG).  Asgharzadeh is an Iranian businessman who has been procuring controlled and dual-use technology and materials for over a decade to support Iran's ballistic missile programs, primarily for SHIG.  He has previously worked to procure items on behalf of Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).  AIO is the Iranian organization responsible for ballistic missile research, development, and production activities and organization, including SHIG and the Shahid Bakeri Industries Group (SBIG).  AIO, SHIG, and SBIG were identified in the Annex of E.O. 13382 in June 2005.
 
Tenny Darian is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, support for, or services in support of, Asgharzadeh, and for acting, or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Asgharzadeh.  As an example of their procurement activities, Asgharzadeh and his associate Darian have sought to purchase and ship foreign-produced ball bearings, which are among the items required by SHIG to produce the Shahab-2 short range ballistic missile and Shahab-3 medium range ballistic missile. 
 
Asgharzadeh and Darian have coordinated the procurement of dual-use and other goods for SHIG through intermediary companies that obfuscate that the goods are for SHIG and will support Iran's ballistic missile program. 
 
East Star Company and Ofog Sabze Darya Company are two such Iran-based companies used for shipments of dual-use and missile-related items to Iran.  East Star Company is being designated for being owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Asgharzadeh.  Ofog Sabze Darya Company is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Asgharzadeh and Darian.
 
Since 2013, Asgharzadeh has relied on a network of trusted China-based brokers and their companies to assist his procurement of dual-use and other goods for SHIG.  Asgharzadeh and Darian work with three China-based brokers – Richard Yue, a sales associate of Cosailing Business Trade Company; Jack Qin, an employee of Ningbo New Century Import and Export; and Carol Zhou – to import dual-use and other components and goods.
 
Yue is being designated for providing or attempting to provide financial or material support for Asgharzadeh.  Cosailing Business Trading Company Limited is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Asgharzadeh. 
 
Yue and Cosailing Business Trading Company purchase goods from other China-based suppliers on behalf of Asgharzadeh.  Yue and Cosailing Business Trading Company have both accepted financial compensation from Asgharzadeh and Darian in exchange for dual-use goods destined for Iran, including U.S.-origin goods.
 
Qin is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Asgharzadeh and Darian. 
 
He is another China-based intermediary for Asgharzadeh and arranges transport to Iran of goods destined for Asgharzadeh's customers, including SHIG, and accepts payment in return.  Qin uses Ningbo New Century Import and Export Company, Ltd. to facilitate shipments for Asgharzadeh to Iran.  Ningbo New Century Import and Export Company, Ltd. is being designated for providing or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Qin.
 
Zhou is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Asgharzadeh and Darian.
 
Gulf-Based Rostamian Network
 
MKS International is being designated for providing financial, material, technological, or other support to AIO and SBIG.  Since 2011, MKS International has been involved in procuring controlled and other technology and materials to support Iran's ballistic missile programs, primarily for AIO and SBIG.  MKS International utilized multiple front companies in order to circumvent export laws and sanctions.
 
Kambiz Rostamian is MKS International's CEO and is being designated for acting for or on behalf of MKS International and Royal Pearl General Trading.  He has dealt directly with and received payments from AIO for the procurement of goods.  Rostamian has also acted as a direct intermediary to purchase parts through MKS.
 
Rostamian is also CEO of Royal Pearl General Trading, which is being designated for acting for or on behalf of MKS International.  Royal Pearl General Trading is a front company for MKS International that has worked with SBIG and AIO to procure components for Iran's ballistic missile program.
 
Iran-based Network Working with Navid Composite and Mabrooka Trading
 
Ervin Danesh Aryan Company and Mostafa Zahedi
Ervin Danesh Aryan Company is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Navid Composite.  Navid Composite was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 in December 2013 as an Iran-based subsidiary of U.S.- and UN-designated Sanam Industrial Group, an entity designated in July 2006 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for its involvement in Iran's ballistic missile program.  Ervin Danesh Aryan Company created previously-designated Mabrooka Trading to import sanctioned goods into Iran.  Mabrooka Trading was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 in January 2016 for having provided, or attempted to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support to Navid Composite.  
 
Ervin Danesh Aryan Company has contracted with Navid Composite since at least 2015 for the procurement of laboratory equipment.  Ervin Danesh Aryan Company facilitated the financial transactions, transportation and shipping costs, and post-sale servicing for these goods on behalf of Navid Composite.  
 
Mostafa Zahedi is being designated for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Ervin Danesh Aryan Company and Mabrooka Trading.  Zahedi, as an employee of Ervin Danesh Aryan Company, sought to acquire carbon fiber production equipment from foreign suppliers. 
 
Zahedi also procured or attempted to procure via Mabrooka Trading carbon fiber-related production equipment from outside Iran on behalf of Navid Composite.
 
Zahedi and E.O. 13382-designated Hossein Pournaghshband, the Director of Mabrooka Trading, have procured for Mohammad Magham, the Managing Director of Navid Composite, and Navid Composite's PAN-based carbon fiber production line since at least 2014.  Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) fibers are the chemical precursor of high-quality carbon fiber.  Carbon fiber, found in high-tech and common daily applications, is used in missiles and solid propellant rocket motors.  Zahedi used Pournaghshband to procure goods from foreign suppliers ultimately destined for Magham. 
 
Since as early as mid-2014, Zahedi, occasionally acting as an employee of Mabrooka Trading, procured PAN and carbon fiber equipment from foreign suppliers for Ervin Danesh Aryan Company, on behalf of Navid Composite.  He also coordinated financial transactions between suppliers and Navid Composite for these goods.  Zahedi's procurement on behalf of Navid Composite was also in coordination with E.O. 13382-designated Chen Mingfu.
 
Mohammad Magham
 
Mohammad Magham is being designated for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Navid Composite.
 
Since late 2014, Magham, Navid Composite's Managing Director, worked with Zahedi and Mabrooka Trading to procure goods from foreign suppliers for use in Navid Composite's carbon fiber production operations.
 
Navid Composite and Magham also contracted with other Iran-based companies in mid-2015 to supply PAN fiber.  The PAN fiber was for Navid Composite's production facility in Rasht, Iran.  Magham also worked directly with E.O. 13382-designated AIO Director Mehrdad Akhlaghi Ketabachi to manage the financials of Navid Composite.  Ketabachi was designated in January 2016 pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of AIO.
 
Ghodrat Zargari and Zist Tajhiz Pooyesh Company
 
Ghodrat Zargari is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, and for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Mabrooka Trading.  Zist Tajhiz Pooyesh Company is being designated for providing, or attempting to provide, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or services in support of, Mabrooka Trading.
 
Ghodrat Zargari has served as the Iran-based technical sales advisor for Mabrooka Trading and senior technical and marketing manager of Iran-based Zist Tajhiz Pooyesh Company.  In this capacity, Zargari worked with Pournaghshband and Mabrooka Trading, as well as China-based broker and Mabrooka Trading associate Mingfu, to ship goods through China to Tehran, Iran.
 
Lebanon-Based IRGC-QF Network
Hasan Dehghan Ebrahimi, an IRGC-QF official based in Beirut, Lebanon who maintains direct ties to senior IRGC-QF officials in Tehran, is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF.  Ebrahimi has facilitated cash transfers to Hizballah worth millions of dollars, including through U.S.-designated Hizballah construction firm Wa'ad Company.
Muhammad Abd-al-Amir Farhat and Yahya al-Hajj are employees of Ebrahimi and are being designated today for acting for or on his behalf.
 
Ebrahimi and his employees use a network of Lebanon-based companies with ties to the broader Middle East to transfer funds, launder money, and conduct business.  Ebrahimi is the manager of Maher Trading and Construction Company, which has been used to launder funds and smuggle goods to Hizballah and is co-located with Wa'ad Company in Beirut.  Maher is being designated today for being owned or controlled by Ebrahimi.
 
Reem Pharmaceutical, Mirage for Engineering and Trading, and Mirage for Waste Management and Environmental Services are being designated today for being owned or controlled by Muhammad Abd-al-Amir Farhat.  Since 2011, Farhat has been the Chairman of the Board of Reem, a Lebanese pharmaceutical company that also does business in Iraq and Kuwait.  In addition, he is the general manager of Mirage for Engineering and Trading, a Lebanon-based construction company that also manages projects in Iraq worth millions of dollars.  Since 1999, Farhat has also been the general manager of Mirage for Waste Management and Environmental Services, a Lebanese environmental services company specializing in the cleaning, collection, recovery, disposal, and treatment of waste. 
 
Ali Sharifi
Ali Sharifi is being designated for acting for or on behalf of the IRGC-QF.  As of 2015, Sharifi worked to procure aviation spare parts on behalf of the IRGC-QF.  Sharifi has also worked to procure other sensitive items from sources in the Middle East and China on behalf of the IRGC-QF.
 
For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today, click here.
 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kaidanow Concludes Visit to Lebanon

January 26, 2017
Acting Assistant Secretary for Political Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow concluded a one-day visit to Lebanon on January 25.  Her visit came as the United States continued its support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, including the delivery on Monday of an additional $3.2 million in equipment for ground troops.  Ambassador Kaidanow met with a range of representatives from Lebanon’s political and security institutions, including Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi, Minister of Defense Yaacoub Sarraf, and a group of Lebanese Parliamentarians.
On January 25, Ambassador Kaidanow visited the headquarters of the Lebanese Armed Forces.  While there, she underscored the United States’ long-standing commitment to Lebanon’s security and stability.  The United States is proud to be the Lebanese army’s top security partner and has provided over $1.5 billion in training and equipment to Lebanon’s military since 2006.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Remarks at a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Situation in the Middle East

Ambassador Michele J. Sison

U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
January 17, 2017

Excerpt

In Lebanon, we welcome the formation of a cabinet, and encourage the new Lebanese government and President Michel Aoun to seize this opportunity to respond to the needs of the Lebanese people, and to address the pressing security, economic, and humanitarian challenges facing the country.

The United States reaffirms its strong commitment to Lebanon’s security, stability, and sovereignty, and we look to all parties in Lebanon to uphold Lebanon’s international obligations, including those contained in UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

We will continue to support Lebanon’s state institutions, including the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces, which defend Lebanon’s borders and contain violent spillover effects from the Syrian conflict.