Monday, March 22, 2010

Lebanese President and U.S. Ambassador Meet at Baabda

22/03/10 14:14 NNA - President Michel Sleiman and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison met today at Baabda Palace. Ambassador Sison conveyed to President Sleiman the United States' continuing support for a strong and independent Lebanon, as well as support for the efforts of President Sleiman and the Lebanese government to build peace and stability within Lebanon and contribute to peace and stability throughout the region. She commended President Sleiman for his leadership and commitment to the people of Lebanon.
Ambassador Sison noted the U.S. commitment to the ongoing diverse and successful partnerships between the United States and Lebanon in the areas of economic growth and military and law enforcement assistance, totaling over $1 billion since 2006. As President Obama told President Sleiman last December, part of peace is economic opportunity and justice in civil society; U.S. assistance thus provides support to education and other programs that promote opportunity in Lebanon.
Ambassador Sison applauded President Sleiman for his leadership on a number of key issues, including the pursuit of a just, lasting and comprehensive Middle East peace. She reiterated the United States' position that it will not allow its efforts to achieve its goals in the Middle East or to engage Syria come at the expense of its deep commitment to Lebanon and to the Lebanese people, nor will it support the forced naturalization of Palestinians in Lebanon. Ambassador Sison expressed the United States' continued hope that the Government of Lebanon will continue to exercise its legitimate authority over all of Lebanon as well as America's commitment to the full implementation of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Internal Security Forces Graduate First Class in the Community Policing Training Program

On March 17, 2010, the first class of 73 Internal Security Forces (ISF) cadets and officers graduating from the newly developed Community Policing training class. As part of its $86-million law enforcement assistance program, the United States government in partnership with the ISF, the United States has pledged to train 300 ISF officers from the Tripoli area in community policing techniques.
The Community Policing course is a ten-week, state-of-the-art training program taught by U.S. and Lebanese police instructors with the assistance of legal professionals. ISF officers learn the latest policing, law enforcement and community relations skills -- and how to implement them effectively in on-the-job situations.
The community policing model promotes the development of partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the individuals and organizations they serve, in order to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in the police. Community policing puts emphasis on tackling the underlying causes of crime by addressing problems at the local level. These techniques have successfully reduced crime and increased trust and confidence in the police in numerous communities in the United States and Europe.
The United States law enforcement assistance program in Lebanon is designed to support Lebanese law enforcement sector reform by strengthening the capacity of the Internal Security Forces to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon and to protect the Lebanese people.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Biden Says U.S. to Keep on Supporting Lebanon Institutions, 1701 Implementation to Disarm Hizbullah

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday stressed the persistence of Washington in supporting Lebanon's institutions and working on the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 "to stop the flow of arms to Hizbullah."
Speaking at Tel Aviv University, Biden said that Hizbullah's weapons represent a threat to both "Israel and Lebanese civilians."
The vice president described Iran as the greatest threat to the region due to its alleged nuclear program and sponsoring of Hizbullah.

On the other hand, Biden confirmed that Washington will send a new ambassador to Syria to enhance diplomatic relations. However, he called for keeping an eye on Damascus' acts that may jeopardize "the security of Israel and the region."

Biden implored Israelis and Palestinians to move beyond a diplomatic spat that has marred his trip to the region, urging the sides to waste no time in resolving their decades-old conflict despite daunting obstacles.
Biden used conciliatory language as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the area in an apparent attempt to get past the uproar sparked by an Israeli plan for new settlement construction in disputed east Jerusalem.
The Israeli announcement -- seen as a slap in the face to Biden -- drew a sharp condemnation from the vice president as well as a Palestinian threat to withdraw from U.S.-mediated peace talks before they even begin.
The 22-nation Arab League, which gave Abbas the backing to resume talks with Israel, has recommended withdrawing support for indirect talks in the wake of the Israeli settlement plan.
Biden's speech appeared aimed at not letting the row with Israel derail the Obama administration's latest drive for Mideast peace. However, the vice president's effusive praise for the Jewish state — saying the U.S. has "no better friend" than Israel — could disappoint those who had hoped he would talk tougher in the wake of the new settlement plan.
Biden said the sides must get down to the business of making peace.
"To end this historic conflict, both sides must be historically bold," Biden said. "If each waits stubbornly ... this will go on for an eternity."
In his speech, Biden outlined the contours of what the U.S. believes should be a final settlement. He said a Palestinian state must be based on the pre-1967 borders, with some modifications and strong guarantees for Israel's security.
Biden listed what he believes to be reminders of Israel's security concerns: The strength of Hizbullah guerrillas to Israel's north in Lebanon, the Hamas presence in Gaza, the continued captivity of an Israeli soldier in Gaza, and "ongoing Palestinian incitement against Israel."
(Naharnet-AP) Beirut, Updated 11 Mar 10, 17:48

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

United States Supports the Rule of Law in Lebanon through Renovation of the Beirut Enforcement Court

On March 2, 2010, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Michele J. Sison and United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Lebanon Mission Director Denise A. Herbol attended the opening ceremony of the renovated Beirut Enforcement Court with Minister of Justice Ibrahim Najjar and members of the High Judicial Council. The United States granted US $620,000 to provide a new queuing system to streamline the process for accepting and handling requests, training workshops on customer service and courtroom management for judges and court clerks, a modern case filing system, information technology equipment and new office furniture.

The U.S. government partnered with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to implement the court renovation and rehabilitation project. This is just one part of the $8.2 million, USAID-funded “Strengthening the Independence of the Judiciary and Citizen Access to Justice” program, which aims to support the Ministry of Justice to increase judicial independence, provide greater access to justice, improve court administration, and encourage long-term strategic planning for the judiciary.

Ambassador Sison emphasized the importance of this project in supporting the Ministry of Justice in improving the overall efficiency of the court, enabling court staff to carry out needed upgrades, and to provide the public with better access to the justice system.