Saturday, October 24, 2009

Statement by the President on the anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon

Office of the Press Secretary
October 23, 2009

We remember today the 241 American Marines, soldiers, and sailors who lost their lives twenty-six years ago as the result of a horrific terrorist attack that destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The military personnel serving in Beirut were there to bring peace and stability to Lebanon after years of internal strife and conflict. The murder of our soldiers, sailors, and Marines on this day on 1983 remains a senseless tragedy.

We pay tribute on this day to the courage and sacrifice of those whose lives were lost in the Beirut attack, as well as their families and loved ones. We also wish to honor the brave service of all members of the United States military who are protecting Americans and promoting freedom and security around the world, as well as those international peacekeepers who serve in harm’s way.

In remembering this terrible day of loss, we are at the same time hopeful that a new government in Lebanon will soon be formed. We look forward to working with a Lebanese government that works actively to promote stability in the region and prosperity for its people.

Anniversary of Attack on U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon

Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 23, 2009
Today marks the 26th anniversary of the October 23, 1983 bombing of the United States Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The United States honors the sacrifices of the 241 American servicemen who lost their lives that day in service of their country while protecting the stability of Lebanon. The Marine barracks memorial on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut reads, “They came in peace.” So too have the troops of the current UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon come in peace. On this somber occasion, the United States also commends the brave men and women of that mission and of all international peacekeeping missions who work to protect civilians and prevent the outbreak of conflict.

Friday, October 23, 2009

U.S. Assistance Improves Lebanese Armed Forces’ Coastal Patrolling, Medical Evacuation, Transportation and Fire Fighting Capability

During the past two weeks, the United States provided several significant deliveries of equipment to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Specifically, the Navy was given 8 Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats which are specially suited for coastal patrolling and counter-smuggling operations. The U.S. also contributed 9 Humvee ambulances and 60 Humvee tactical military vehicles. Lastly, the U.S. delivered a fire truck to the LAF to assist in fighting fires on military bases.

The overall goal of U.S. military assistance to Lebanon is to strengthen the LAF and increase its capacity to defend Lebanon’s borders and sovereignty. Since 2006, the United States has allocated over $524 million to the LAF. The United States is committed to building the capabilities of the LAF and it will continue to support the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces as they continue their efforts to safeguard the peace, unity and sovereignty of Lebanon.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

LAF Increases Their Strategic Capacity with U.S. Training

October 14, 2009 Lebanese graduates of the U.S. government-funded strategic studies programs were honored on October 8, 2009 by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Michele J. Sison at the conclusion of a five day program with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Over 150 Lebanese officials and officers have graduated from the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies, some of whom gathered at the ceremony to honor the new graduates' commitment to enhancing the relationship between the U.S. and Lebanese armed forces.
The NESA program, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, included a bilateral discussion of strategic military education concepts and a seminar to discuss U.S. military strategy in the Middle East. The week-long course is a part of a three-year program designed to assist the LAF increase their strategic capacity. The NESA program is a part of the U.S. government’s direct support for developing Lebanon’s military and security forces.
Speaking at the reception, NESA Center Dean of Academic Affairs John R. Ballard told the graduates that, “the NESA Center remains committed to assisting the LAF increase their strategic capacity through sustained dialogue and exchanges. The professional military education aspect of USG interaction with the LAF is as important as the military hardware aspect, and in some ways, it is even more important.”
The mission of the NESA Center is to enhance security in the region by building sustained, mutually beneficial relationships, fostering regional cooperation, and promoting effective communications and strategic capacity through free and candid interaction in an academic environment.
Since 2006, the United States has provided over $410 million in assistance to the LAF. The U.S. is committed to strengthening the capacity of the LAF as they defend Lebanon’s borders and safeguard the peace, unity and sovereignty of Lebanon.

Embassy Of The United States. Beirut. Lebanon - Press Release

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

General Kahwaji's met US Central Command Deputy Commander

13/10/09 NNA - Lebanese Army Commander, General Jean Khawaji, met today at his office in Yarze with the US Central Command Deputy Commander, Lieutenant General John R. Allen, accompanied by a military delegation and in presence of the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Michel Sison.
Talks featured high on the US aids to the Lebanese Army.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Judicial Training Institute in Ashrafieh Begins $1.35 million, U.S.-funded Upgrade

On October 13, the Judicial Training Institute in Ashrafieh, which trains Lebanon’s current and future judges, dedicated a $1.25 million renovation project funded by the U.S. government. When completed, the Institute will move from the one-room facility it currently occupies at the Ministry of Justice to a renovated five-floor facility designed to meet the specific needs of Lebanon’s judicial trainees.

Attending the dedication of the renovation project, U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Lebanon Mission Director Denise A. Herbol emphasized the U.S. government’s committed support for Lebanon’s independent judiciary, noting that “a strong, independent, transparent judicial system – accessible to the people – is one of the most essential institutions in a democracy. Renovating the Institute will provide Lebanon’s judges a dedicated facility to focus on their continuing professional development and administering justice for the sake of the Lebanese people.”

Work on the facility is scheduled to be completed in early 2010 and will include the installation of plumbing services and electricity, and outfitting the facility with furniture and equipment. Implemented by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), this project is part of the $6.6 million, USAID-funded “Strengthening Judicial Independence and Citizen Access to Justice Program.”

Embassy Of The United States. Beirut. Lebanon - Press Release

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Feltman calls on Lebanese leaders to handle cabinet formation according to constitution

October 10, 2009 US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told Al-Hurra Television in interview on Saturday that he hopes Lebanon’s leaders will handle the issue of cabinet formation as soon as possible, according to the Lebanese constitution and to the democratic elections.

He praised the Syrian and Saudi leaders’ interest in Lebanon’s cabinet formation, as demonstrated during the recent Summit in Damascus.

Feltman said his country is fully committed to supporting Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence, which he said, was a topic of negotiation during Syrian Assistant Foreign Minister Faisal al-Moqdad and the US administration’s meeting in Washington last week. Feltman stressed however, that in spite of Syria and US’ discussion of the issue, “Only Lebanese must make the decisions for their country.”

According to Feltman, talks with Moqdad were constructive and the US is committed to following-up on policies of US president Barack Obama and on his insistence to deal with Syria in a diplomatic way.

He also said, “We made visits to Damascus and had talks with the Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem on the sides of the UN general assembly in New York, and this is the political part of our diplomatic integration with the Syrians, where we will evaluate our ability to accomplish some of the goals of our foreign policy.”

In another respect, Feltman undermined the statements by Israeli Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman about the possibility of failing to soon reach peace, saying he will not “allow an Israeli statement from here or a Palestinian statement from there” worry him, for “it is normal for both sides to present their tense positions when they are negotiating.”

He reiterated the US commitment to Israel’s security and to helping Palestinians achieve ambitions of establishing an independent state, and also said that the current US administration will continue to seek Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to reach a two-state solution.