Monday, February 17, 2014

Ambassador Hale Following his Meeting with Prime Minister Salam

February 17, 2014
I just had a very positive meeting with Prime Minister Salam. I reiterated Secretary Kerry's statement from Saturday, welcoming the government's formation, subject to Parliament's confidence. Prime Minister Salam is someone for whom my government and I personally have the greatest respect and admiration. We stand ready to work with him and his team to advance our bilateral relations and to help with the many challenges facing Lebanon. Lebanon cannot and need not deal with these challenges alone. The International Support Group for Lebanon came into existence for that very purpose.

Foremost among the challenges are:

  • promoting Lebanon's policy of dissociation from the conflict in Syria,
  • ending terrorist acts and violence,
  • helping Lebanese communities cope with the refugees from Syria, and
  • protecting the opportunity for the Lebanese to choose their own leaders, as president and in parliament, freely, fairly, on time, and in accordance with Lebanon's constitution.

Through upholding the Taef Agreement and Baabda Declaration, and fully implementing UNSCRs 1701 and 1559, Lebanon's political leaders and the international community can best help the Lebanese people meet those goals and bolster peace, stability, prosperity, and freedom here.

This is also an opportunity to express America's respect for the leadership Prime Minister Mikati demonstrated during a difficult period. We value his moderation and his commitment to strong American-Lebanese relations. We look forward to continued partnership with him in the years to come.