Friday, December 26, 2014

Statement by Ambassador David Hale following his meeting with President of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri

December 23, 2014
Well I just had the honor of meeting with the President of the Chamber of Deputies and earlier today, I met with former President Sleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader, General Aoun, and last night Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea.  In all of these meetings, we discussed the many challenges facing the region and Lebanon, and as always I listened carefully to their views and analysis, and asked how the United States could be of most help.  America, like so many other countries in the international community, is committed to helping Lebanon find security and stability.  Lebanon's policy of dissociation is of critical importance in this regard.
So, too, is adherence to Lebanon's constitution when tackling the political difficulties facing the country.  The Lebanese, alone, can, should, and must elect a president, urgently.  Doing so, of course, alone, won't solve all of the many problems challenging this country; but it will enable Lebanon to face those challenges in accordance with the Constitution and the National Pact, which seems to me and to so many friends of Lebanon to be a necessity.
I'd also like to take this occasion to reiterate that the United States remains committed to supporting Lebanon's efforts to make the transformation to an oil and gas producing country.  Our approach has always been to listen and to learn from Lebanese officials on how they wish to proceed on this issue, and to discuss how best the United States could be of help.  It is a Lebanese decision on how to proceed, but of course Lebanon stands to gain considerably from its oil and gas reserves and we have always stood ready to work with the Lebanese authorities to be of help in finding solutions to all of those issues, and in fact, have offered ideas to both Israel and to Lebanon.  We will continue to play an active role on this front as long as desired.