Friday, July 31, 2015

Statement by Ambassador David Hale following his meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam

July 31, 2015
Good afternoon, I just had the pleasure of meeting with Prime Minister Salam, and we discussed a range of topics of mutual interest.    

During our discussion, I stressed one critical, underlying message:  America's enduring commitment to Lebanon.  Regional developments have not altered America's policy toward Lebanon, or any of our commitments to Lebanon; nor do they alter our commitment to regional security.  I want to make clear to the people of Lebanon:  America supports you and will stand shoulder to shoulder with you.

I also want to express my admiration for Lebanon's army and the security forces on the occasion of the army's 70th anniversary.  The Lebanese Armed Forces have done an extraordinary job of responding to the threats arising from across the Syrian border.  The army has demonstrated to enemies and friends alike that it is strong, fully capable of defending Lebanon's borders and its people, and that it has the support of those people.  We are committed to ensuring the army has the capability to meet its responsibilities to defend and protect the borders.  America has been, is, and will continue to be the army's steadfast and foremost security partner.  Since 2006, we have provided more than $1 billion in security assistance and critical training.  And just as you can count on international support, Lebanon has something no other military has and that is  the Lebanese soldier.  Our trainers know best; they say that Lebanon's soldiers, their skills, their professionalism, their dedication to duty, and their commitment to defend their country are unsurpassed.

Now our civilian programs are every bit as important as our security work, if less well known.  $220 million to Lebanon's education sector.  $281 million to other sectors, such as water and economic development.  New, duty free access to America for the vast majority of Lebanese products.  $869 million to help Lebanon and Lebanese communities cope with the refugee crisis.  And I am pleased to announce today an additional $20.2 million grant from the United States to the UN World Food Program for its emergency food assistance operations inside Lebanon.

At stressful times like these, the Lebanese justifiably look to their friends abroad for legitimate assistance to state institutions.  As I have said, we and many others are responding.  It is therefore all the more troubling when political leaders, whatever their motives, take actions or positions that damage the very state institutions which are needed now more than ever.  Instead of strength, we see a vacant presidency.  Instead of cooperation, we see blockage, including of some international loans and grants that the Lebanese people so rightly want and need to deal with the crushing burdens on this society.  We will do our part, and are responding to every request made of us for help.  But it is in the power of only the Lebanese to stop this tearing down of the institutions of state, and to start repairing them.  When that starts to happen, solutions will follow as well as even stronger international support.

Thank you very much.

United States Provides an Additional $20 million to the World Food Program in Lebanon

July 31, 2015
As part of our commitment and continued support to help those affected by the crisis in Syria, the United States is announcing the provision of more than $20 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Lebanon to deliver emergency food assistance to Syrian refugees.

The additional assistance will support WFP's distribution of food vouchers to refugees inside Lebanon.  Since 2013, the voucher program, funded in large part by the United States, has provided critical food assistance to refugees while also contributing approximately $1 billion to the economies of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq.  The funding will bolster the Lebanese economy and reduce the strain placed on communities that have generously opened their doors to Syrian refugees.

The United States is the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian crisis, providing more than $4 billion in humanitarian aid, which includes over $1.2 billion in food assistance. USAID has contributed $311 million to the World Food Program in Lebanon since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Message -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Lebanon

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 29, 2015
Message -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Lebanon


Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days 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 with respect to Lebanon that was declared in Executive Order 13441 of August 1, 2007, is to continue in effect beyond August 1, 2015.

Certain ongoing activities, such as continuing arms transfers to Hizballah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13441 with respect to Lebanon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Leaders, Military Officials, And An Associate In Lebanon


Action Targets Individuals for their Efforts Aiding Hizballah's Support for the Assad Regime or for its Global Terrorist Activities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions against a set of key Hizballah leaders, military officials, and an associate in Lebanon, further exposing and targeting Hizballah's active support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hizballah's terrorist activities.  Today, Treasury designated Mustafa Badr Al Din, Fu'ad Shukr, and Ibrahim Aqil pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13582 for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah.  Treasury today also imposed sanctions against Hizballah facilitator Abd Al Nur Shalan pursuant to E.O. 13224 for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah.  As a result of today's action, all assets of these four individuals that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. 

Today's designations are the latest in a series of actions the U.S. government is taking against Hizballah for its violent terrorist activities and its support to the Assad regime's attacks against the Syrian people.  Treasury's most recent related action took place in June 2015 with the designation of Hizballah front companies and facilitators.   

"As these designations make clear, the United States will continue to aggressively target Hizballah for its terrorist activities worldwide as well as its ongoing support to Assad's ruthless military campaign in Syria," said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  "We will pursue all of Hizballah's revenue sources, whether charitable fundraising, criminal proceeds, or state sponsorship."

Hizballah was designated for its support to the Government of Syria pursuant to E.O. 13582 in August 2012.  It was also named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to E.O. 13224 in October 2001, and listed in the Annex to E.O. 12947 as a Specially Designated Terrorist in January 1995.  In addition, Mustafa Badr Al Din was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to E.O. 13224 on September 13, 2012. 

Hizballah began providing military support, including training, advice, and extensive logistical aid, to the Assad regime and pro-regime militias at the start of the Syrian conflict in early 2011.  Hizballah has coordinated its military support with senior officials in the Assad regime.  Under the direction of Hizballah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah, Hizballah escalated its military aid to the Government of Syria in mid-2012.

Mustafa Badr Al Din

Badr Al Din is assessed to be responsible for Hizballah's military operations in Syria since 2011, including the movement of Hizballah fighters from Lebanon to Syria, in support of the Syrian regime.  Since September 2011, strategic coordination was handled between Assad and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a weekly basis, with Badr Al Din accompanying Nasrallah during the meetings in Damascus.  Since 2012, Badr Al Din coordinated Hizballah military activities in Syria.  Badr Al Din led Hizballah ground offensives in the Syrian town of al-Qusayr in February 2013, and in May 2013 the Free Syrian Army (FSA) confirmed that Badr Al Din was leading Hizballah's operations in al-Qusayr.

Ibrahim Aqil

Aqil serves on Hizballah's highest military body, the Jihad Council, and has played a vital role in Hizballah's military campaign in Syria by aiding Hizballah fighters and pro-Syrian regime troops against Syrian opposition forces in battles inside Syria.  In addition, Aqil has been the subject of multiple Interpol Red Notices, which document his long history with Hizballah, including his involvement in the hostage taking of two Germans in the late 1980s and a bombing campaign in Paris in 1986.

Fu'ad Shukr

Shukr serves on Hizballah's highest military body, the Jihad Council, and has played a vital role in Hizballah's military campaign in Syria by aiding Hizballah fighters and pro-Syrian regime troops against Syrian opposition forces in decisive battles inside Syria.

Abd Al Nur Shalan

Shalan, a businessman with close ties to Hizballah leadership, has been Hizballah's point person for the procurement and transshipment of weapons and materiel for the group and its Syrian partners for at least 15 years.  Shalan has been critical in keeping Hizballah supplied with weapons, including small arms, since the start of the Syrian conflict.  Shalan ensures items purchased for Hizballah personnel in Syria make it through customs.  In 2014, Shalan used his business cover to hide weapons-related materiel in Syria for Hizballah.

In 2012, Shalan was involved in helping Hizballah obtain weapons and equipment and in shipping the materiel to Syria.  In 2010, Shalan was at the center of brokering a business deal involving Hizballah, Syrian officials, and companies in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine regarding the purchase and sale of weapons. Further in 2010, he acquired a number of tons of anhydride, used in the production of explosives and narcotics, for use by Hizballah.  In November 2009, Shalan coordinated with Hizballah and Syrian officials on the purchase and delivery of thousands of rifles to Syria.

For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today, click here.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs Amos Hochstein Visits Lebanon

July 2, 2015 - Amos J Hochstein, the Department of State Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, visited Lebanon this week to discuss Lebanese and regional energy issues with senior officials. Special Envoy Hochstein met with President of the Chamber of Deputies Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Tamam Salam, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Energy and Water Minister Arthur Nazarian, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, UN Special Representative to Lebanon Sigrid Kaag, and UNIFIL Commander Brigadier General Luciano Portolano.

In his meetings, Special Envoy Hochstein encouraged officials to take advantage of Lebanon's potential to attract investment to successfully develop its hydrocarbon sector. Special Envoy Hochstein reaffirmed American support to Lebanon in its efforts to achieve economic growth and prosperity through transparent, sustainable development of its offshore energy prospects.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Caution in light of recent attacks

July 1, 2015
In light of last week's terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait, we want to remind U.S. citizens in Lebanon to maintain their vigilance. We encourage U.S. citizens to exercise heightened security awareness of their surroundings at all times, taking appropriate measures to ensure their safety and security.  Be conscious of your personal security at all times.  Terrorist bombing attacks may occur with little or no warning.  Avoid areas where bombings have taken place immediately after the initial attack.  The Embassy urges all U.S. citizens in Lebanon to monitor the media for latest developments in the event of a security incident.

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution,Travel Warning for Lebanon, Travel Alerts, and Lebanon Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.  The U.S. Embassy is located at Awkar facing the Municipality, PO Box 70-840, Beirut and is open Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM, (961) (4) 542600 or (961) (4) 543600.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (961) (4) 542600 or (961) (4) 543600.  For further information, U.S. citizens may also access our website at Embassy in Lebanon.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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