Saturday, August 29, 2015

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Exum Visits Lebanon

August 27, 2015
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Dr. Andrew Exum visited Lebanon this week. During his trip, he met with political and military leaders including Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Samir Moqbel, and Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwagi. Dr. Exum highlighted the long-standing security partnership between the United States and Lebanon through ongoing training and assistance programs, valued at more than $1 billion since 2006. Following his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Moqbel, Dr. Exum said the United States is proud of the relationship we have built with the LAF, especially in the last 10 years. America – through the American Embassy in Beirut – will continue to work to ensure that the needs of the Lebanese Army continue to be met. We are committed to ensuring that the threats Lebanon faces will not be faced by Lebanon alone, but in partnership with the United States.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ambassador Hale’s Statement on Recent Beirut Protests

August 24, 2015
Good morning. I am here at the Grand Serail today joined by a visitor from Washington, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Andrew Exum.  We met with Prime Minister Salam to discuss America's continued military cooperation with and strong support and commitment to Lebanon.

We also discussed with the Prime Minister the challenges facing the government, especially in the wake of this weekend's demonstrations. We spoke about the importance of one of our core shared values, the right of free speech and assembly. The American and Lebanese constitutions support the right to peaceful protest. This is a right integral to both our nations' values and histories. As the Prime Minister said in his remarks yesterday, it is a right that must be protected. If that right is found to be violated, there needs to be accountability as Prime Minister Salam has called for.

I am deeply troubled by the images and reports of injuries. We support a thorough investigation, and accountability, and restraint.

This weekend, Lebanon's vibrant civil society voiced its frustration over the political paralysis that has held Lebanon captive for too long. I reiterated America's strong support for the Prime Minister's efforts to advance political consensus so the cabinet can work on many urgent issues. All sides of the Lebanese political spectrum have a responsibility to their constituencies to act in the national interest. Lebanon's citizens deserve to have basic services they can count upon, just as they deserve a parliament that overcomes its divisions and elects a president. America has and will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Lebanon as it faces these challenges.

Thank you.