Thursday, April 01, 2010

Statement of Senator John Kerry After Meeting with President Michel Sleiman at Baabda Palace

March 31, 2010
Thank you. I apologize that I will not have time for questions because we are under a schedule and a deadline with our airplane.
Let me just say very quickly, it is a great pleasure to be back here in Lebanon. I had a wonderful meeting with President Sleiman and listened carefully to his judgments about our relationship, the importance of our relationship, but also the challenges with respect to the Israel-Palestinian peace issue and Syria. Let me assure you on behalf of the United States and the Congress that we are deeply committed to the sovereignty, independence, and democratic government of Lebanon. We respect the challenges that you have been fighting through. I think there is a moment, hopefully, here where we can make progress on the relationship with Syria as well the relationship with Israel-Palestine, which would be enormously helpful to regional stability. We thank you for the courage of the people of Lebanon. We are cooperating on a number of different projects now. We have about $1 billion of American assistance since 2006 that is coming to Lebanon. I can promise you that anything we do with respect to the peace process in this region will not come at the expense of Lebanon. So thank you for a generous welcome today and I apologize that I don’t have more time. Thank you very much.