Friday, July 30, 2010

Assistant Secretary of Defense Visits Lebanon

July 30, 2010 Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, Michael Vickers, visited Beirut on July 29 to meet with Minister of Defense Elias Murr, the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) LTG Jean Kahwaji, and LAF Special Operations Forces. During his visit, Assistant Secretary Vickers reaffirmed US commitment to providing the LAF special operations forces with the advanced training and equipment necessary to continue countering extremism inside Lebanon , extending the Government of Lebanon’s authority throughout Lebanon’s territory. Vickers noted that over the past year the Department of Defense provided nearly $7 million dollars in training and equipment to LAF special operations forces. Assistant Secretary Vickers made visits to Roumieh and Amchit to talk with LAF special operations soldiers and officers, who displayed their new equipment and demonstrated unit capabilities during live-fire exercises. The Assistant Secretary also attended with Ambassador Michele Sison, an annual reception hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Near East and Southeast Asia (NESA) Center which brought together over one hundred LAF officers who are alumni of NESA sponsored executive seminars and training.

Lebanese and U.S. Armed Forces Honor Strategic Military Education Graduates

July 30, 2010 Lebanese graduates of the U.S. government-funded strategic studies programs were honored on July 29th by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Michele J. Sison at the conclusion of a five day program with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). To date, over 172 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 on Homeland Security. 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, Ambassador Sison told the graduates that, “the NESA Center remains committed to assisting the LAF increase their strategic capacity through sustained dialogue and exchanges. The PME [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 $720 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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kahwaji receives Vickers

29/07/10 NNA - Lebanese army commander, General Jean Kahwaji, received on Thursday at his office in Yarze, the US Undersecretary of Defense, Michael Vickers, in presence of the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Michele Sison, with talks featuring high on the cooperation between both Lebanese and US armies.

Message from the President on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Lebanon

July 29, 2010, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Release.


Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency declared with respect to the actions of certain persons to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions is to continue in effect beyond August 1, 2010.

While there have been some recent positive developments in the Syrian-Lebanese relationship, continuing arms transfers to Hizballah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For these reasons, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared on August 1, 2007, to deal with that threat and the related measures adopted on that date to respond to the emergency.


Monday, July 26, 2010

US Embassy: Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow Visits Beirut

26/07/10 NNA - In a press release by the US Embassy in Beirut, it indicated that "Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow visited Beirut on Monday to meet with President Sleiman, Prime Minister Hariri Defense Minister Murr, the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), and the UNIFIL Deputy Force Commander and staff."

The release added "During his visit Assistant Secretary Vershbow reaffirmed U.S. commitment to providing security assistance to the Government of Lebanon (GoL) and the LAF as they continue to extend Lebanese government control throughout the country. Assistant Secretary Vershbow also confirmed that Congress has approved $100M in Foreign Military Financing for 2010. This will help the LAF continue its multi-year comprehensive training and equipping program, which is specifically targeted to help the LAF maintain security, protect Lebanon's borders against smuggling, and prevent militias and other non-state actors from using violence to undermine the GoL's authority. Assistant Secretary Vershbow applauded GoL and LAF efforts to implement UNSCR 1559 and 1701 in cooperation with UNIFIL and expressed sincere appreciation for LAF actions taken to counter extremism inside Lebanon."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Sison: US committed to contributing to Lebanon’s security and development

During the celebration of the 234th anniversary of the US’ independence in Beirut on Monday, US Ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison said her country was committed to contributing to the security and the development of Lebanon, so Lebanese can take on the hard work of building this country for the next generation, according to a statement issued by the US Embassy in Lebanon on Tuesday.“In December 2009, [US] President [Barack] Obama made a commitment to regional peace. He also made a promise to Lebanon's stability and sovereignty,” Sison said. “President Obama reiterated to Prime Minister [Saad Hariri in May] that US regional engagement will never come at Lebanon's expense. He reaffirmed the US' continued strong support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon,” Sison added.Sison welcomed more than 1000 guests at the event held in Le Royal Hotel in Dbayeh, the statement said.
NOW Lebanon

Friday, July 02, 2010

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Meets Lebanese Minster of Interior;$50,000 to Lebanese NGO Kunhadi to Support Traffic Safety Campaign

On July 2, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood met with Lebanese Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud to discuss American and Lebanese government initiatives to encourage safe driving. Secretary LaHood and Minister Baroud spoke at length about the different approaches and public awareness campaigns employed in Lebanon and the United States to educate drivers about the dangers of reckless and drunk driving, as well as driving while texting or other forms of distracted driving.
Speaking from the Ministry, Secretary LaHood called driving while texting “an epidemic in America and throughout the world."
"As we enter the United Nations' Decade of Global Road Safety, people need to remember that they can't safely talk on a cell phone or text while driving," said Secretary LaHood. "The risks are enormous." To counteract this disturbing trend, government agencies and private companies in the United States and Lebanon are using public service announcements and safety events to raise awareness.
Also present at the Ministry were met representatives from the Lebanese NGO Kunhadi, dedicated to promoting road safety, and announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a new $50,000 grant to the organization which will help them produce 20 new TV clips on important traffic safety issues and Lebanese traffic laws. These spots will be aired as public service announcements on major Lebanese television stations. Last year Kunhadi received two grants from the United States government to support a public awareness campaign on road safety to focus citizen attention -- especially that of young drivers – on the need to obey Lebanese driving laws.