Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Senior State Department Officials Visit Lebanon

March 11, 2013 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Diplomacy Amos Hochstein and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Lawrence Silverman visited Lebanon today and met with senior officials to discuss the political, economic and security situation in Lebanon and other regional issues. 
They had meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil.
In their meetings, Mr. Hochstein and Mr. Silverman expressed their support for the Lebanese government's efforts to implement fair and transparent regulations for Lebanon's energy sector, and discussed Lebanon's maritime exclusive economic zone.
They commended the Government of Lebanon and the generosity of the Lebanese people for hosting and supporting a growing number of Syrian refugees who have fled the brutal violence of the Asad regime.  They further underscored the United States' commitment to assist refugees from Syria and the Lebanese communities that host them.  To date the United States has provided $385 million in humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees in Syria and neighboring countries, of which $51 million has been provided for refugees in Lebanon, and $115 million in non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition.  They noted that the United States has urged all nations who pledged support at the Kuwait conference to disburse their pledged funds to the United Nations, noting that the United States' pledge of $155 million has already been disbursed. 
They also welcomed the efforts of Lebanese leaders to reach consensus and uphold Lebanon's democratic and constitutional principles and hold parliamentary elections on time.  They further called for all parties to exercise restraint and respect for Lebanon's stability and security.
They renewed the United States' commitment to a stable, sovereign and independent Lebanon.