Friday, November 20, 2009

LAF and U.S. Helicopter Pilots Share Expertise in Week-long Seminar

Helicopter pilots from the U.S. Army met and worked with their counterparts from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) November 8-13, 2009 as part of a seminar focusing on aviation operations with pilots from helicopter units. Pilots from the Third Army/ U.S. Army Central Command personnel and the LAF helicopter corps spent the week exchanging information during the seminar, which included formal presentations by both LAF and U.S. pilots. These presentations and the practical discussions that followed focused on aviation support of LAF ground units and Lebanese civilians during times of humanitarian crises.

The seminar was part of Third Army’s Theater Security Cooperation program which is intended to strengthen partner nation military capabilities, increase interoperability, and promote regional stability.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Feltman: Support for Lebanon will not be at Syria's expense‏

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said in an interview published in the Sunday edition of An-Nahar newspaper that “through our discussions with Syria, we are trying to enhance the international and regional atmosphere, so that Lebanon becomes an independent player,” adding, “We reassure Damascus that our support for Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty will not be at Syria’s expense.”
He said the US welcomes the formation of the Lebanese cabinet and looks forward to cooperating with it and denied accusations that his country interfered in the government-formation process.
Feltman also said Iran is continuing to supply arms to Hezbollah, adding this “was proven when Israel raided the Francop ship.” He voiced hope that the Lebanese cabinet would be aware of the danger of such incidents as well as the launch of rockets from Lebanon into Israel.
Feltman reiterated the US commitment to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, saying, “No one knows where the investigations will lead, however as a member of the Security Council that met Lebanon’s demand to form the tribunal, we maintain our commitment to it.”
He described the US-Syrian conflict as “deep,” but added that Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad’s visit to Washington at the end of September was “positive and constructive.” Feltman also stressed that his country is committed to facilitating Syrian-Israeli negotiations, despite its failure to do so until now.
Feltman said the US and France have a high-level of cooperation on the Middle East peace process, explaining that both countries agree that Syria can play a positive role in the region.
Feltman also spoke about Iran, saying the US is disappointed with Tehran for not agreeing to implement the agreement reached in Geneva in October – under which Tehran would ship 1,200 kilograms of its own stockpiled uranium to Russia, and subsequently France, by the end of the year — and added that the international community remains united in confronting the challenges posed by Iran.

NOW Lebanon

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Delegation from U.S. Congress Looks to Strengthen Ties with Lebanese Parliament

On November 10-11, 2009, a delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Lebanon as a continuation of the partnership between the U.S. Congress and the Lebanese National Assembly. Representative David Price from North Carolina, the Chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), expressed his pleasure at being able to visit Lebanon again in order to further Congress' "engagement with the National Assembly and reaffirm its support for a strong and vibrant Lebanese democracy," calling the visit an " opportunity to meet with our fellow legislators, share our common experiences and challenges, and discuss ways in which we can work together to strengthen our democratic institutions."

The delegation met with majority and opposition deputies and discussed institutional development issues facing the Lebanese Parliament. Both sides discussed deeper cooperation between members of the U.S. Congress and Lebanese deputies, as well as ways to strengthen support between the two institutions as a whole. Also at Parliament, professional U.S. staff members from Congressional committees met with their Lebanese counterparts to discuss ways in which committee staffers support legislators in Lebanon and the United States.

Representative David Dreier, the ranking Republican member of the HDP from California, said that the members of the delegation "believe very strongly that an effective, independent legislature is an essential component to sustainable democratic development. It is our hope that through this partnership with the National Assembly, we can both strengthen the U.S.-Lebanon relationship and provide support to the Lebanese people in their efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous democracy."

The delegation also held meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and expressed to them their congratulations to the Lebanese people on the formation of the new Lebanese cabinet.

Also traveling to Lebanon as part of the delegation were, Representatives Lois Capps of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Charles Boustany, Jr., from Louisiana.

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

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The White House, Statement by the Press Secretary on the New Lebanese Government

For Immediate Release, November 10, 2009.
The United States commends Prime Minister Hariri and President Sleiman for their stewardship during the government formation process, and looks forward to working with the next Lebanese government on behalf of the people of Lebanon.  We hope that the cabinet statement and government program will reflect a commitment to full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1701.  The United States will stand by those partners who share our commitment to Lebanese sovereignty.  We look forward to working with a new Lebanese government that is committed to extending its authority over all of Lebanon, and to advancing political and economic reforms that benefit the people of Lebanon.  Pursuing these goals presents a clear path towards the advancement of peace and stability, and economic opportunity – both in Lebanon and the region.  Lebanon will play a key role in the effort to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.  There can be no lasting solution in the region reached at Lebanon’s expense.

Monday, November 02, 2009

ISF Generals Tour United States, Review Community Policing Practices

November 2, 2009 A senior delegation from the Lebanese Internal Security Forces returned to Lebanon yesterday from a two-week visit sponsored by the U.S. government to study community policing practices in the United States.
During the visit, the delegation held discussions with U.S. Department of State and police association officials in Washington, D.C. before traveling to Chicago, Illinois, Reno, Nevada and San Diego, California where they met with police executives to gain an operational understanding of community policing. These American police departments have been identified as among the best examples of community policing at work, a law-enforcement philosophy whereby the police and the citizens they protect and serve work closely together to identify and solve problems that are of mutual concern . The goal of community policing is to establish a more effective police department which better meets the needs of the citizens while building an environment of trust and mutual respect.
Upon the delegation's return to Lebanon, ISF Inspector General Simon Haddad said that the concept of community policing will have a great impact on the ISF: "Community policing is a very great step the ISF and the Lebanese society. This is the best way to solve problems and it is a link between the ISF and the families in the community….We now have a clear picture of how to do this in Lebanon." The delegation also included five other ISF officers: Chief of Staff General Joseph El Hajal, Head of the ISF Operations General Sami Nabhan, Head of Training General Mounir Chaaban, Director General of the Political Affairs and the Palestinian Refugee Affairs at the Ministry of Interior General Nicolas Habr, and Assistant Chief of the Information Unit Colonel Said Fawaz.
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) sponsors a community policing training program for the Nahr El Bared Refugee camp, where community policing will be implemented to initiate a positive relationship between the ISF and the Palestinian community. The State Department Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) program with the ISF provides 24 US police advisors who are training Lebanese cadets, instructors, and supervisors at the ISF academy in Lebanon. In addition, INL has provided non lethal policing equipment, vehicles, and facility refurbishments to ISF facilities.

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

Statement by Ambassador Michele J. Sison after Meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri

October 28, 2009 Speaker Berri and I just concluded a meeting in which I reiterated the U.S. government's commitment to supporting the institutions of the state of Lebanon, including the parliament. We have worked with the parliament in the past to support its institutional capacity, and we hope to continue this cooperation in the future. We also discussed current developments. It is important that the government formation process be resolved as soon as possible. The shape and composition of the government is, of course, a Lebanese matter. We look forward to working with a Lebanese government that works actively to promote stability in the region and prosperity for its people.

We strongly condemn last night's rocket launch, which is a clear violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701. The recent series of incidents, including the explosion of the Hizballah weapons depot on July 14, a similar rocket attack on September 11, the October 12 incident in Tayr Falsayh, as well as last night’s incident, highlights the urgent need to extend the state’s control over all of Lebanon’s territory, to disarm all militias, and for the international community to continue supporting UNIFIL and its mission

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