Friday, December 30, 2016

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Lebanon’s Cabinet Formation

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 29, 2016
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on Lebanon's Cabinet Formation
The United States congratulates Prime Minister Hariri on the Lebanese parliament's approval of his cabinet on December 28.  We look forward to working with Prime Minister Hariri, his government, and all our partners in Lebanon who have committed to address the pressing challenges facing the country.  The United States stands steadfast in its support for a strong, stable, prosperous, and sovereign Lebanon as the new government works to strengthen state institutions, prepare for timely national elections, and uphold and implement Lebanon's international commitments. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Formation of a New Government in Lebanon

Press Statement
John Kirby 
Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
December 19, 2016
The United States welcomes Lebanon’s announcement of the formation of a new government and congratulates Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
The United States encourages the Lebanese government to seize this opportunity to respond to the needs of the Lebanese people and to address the pressing security, economic, and humanitarian challenges facing the country.
The United States reaffirms its strong support for Lebanon’s security, stability, and sovereignty and looks forward to working with the new Lebanese government. We will continue to stand with its state institutions and the Lebanese people as they build a stable and prosperous future.

U.S. Ambassador Delivers Cessna Aircraft to Lebanese Armed Forces

December 19, 2016

Today, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard participated in a ceremony to celebrate the delivery of an armed Cessna aircraft to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), highlighting the U.S. commitment to Lebanon's security.

Ambassador Richard said the U.S. is proud to deliver this Cessna, the third in the LAF air force, and she reaffirmed the strength of the multi-faceted security partnership with Lebanon.  

The U.S. delivered the aircraft as part of a "total package" that includes maintenance support and training, with a combined value of approximately $30 million. The Cessna is equipped with HELLFIRE missiles and a day/night targeting system. The aircraft will help the LAF to conduct border security missions, combat threats from extremist groups, and support LAF ground troops.

United States assistance to the LAF is a vital aspect of the cooperation between the two countries. The United States remains committed to strengthening the capacity of the LAF to secure Lebanon's borders, defend the sovereignty of the state and maintain overall security.

Following are Ambassador Richard's remarks at the ceremony:

Thank you very much everyone, thank you especially Brigadier General Farah this morning for being with us and to everyone with us this morning.

We are here today to mark the delivery of an armed Cessna aircraft—the third for the Lebanese Armed Forces. The United States is very proud to be part of supporting the LAF, particularly today. 

Over several years of close military-to-military engagements, we have seen the Lebanese Army develop into a trusted U.S. partner and a major contributor to stability in Lebanon and the region. This partnership is strong now.  We share fundamental goals with the Lebanese Armed Forces—border protection, internal security and counter-terrorism, to name a few. And we will continue to work together on those fronts.

We Americans believe that all of us are more secure when our partners are stable, secure, sovereign and independent. We are therefore doing everything we can to help strengthen Lebanon's legitimate state institutions, especially the Lebanese Armed Forces. The LAF is a key institution of Lebanese statehood.  It is Lebanon's sole legitimate defense force and an essential element in exerting the state's authority throughout all of Lebanon's territory.

We know that the challenges facing Lebanon are serious. There are security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, many of them deriving from the conflict in Syria. The new Lebanese government must lead in addressing these problems.  But the United States is ready and willing to support Lebanon's legitimate institutions and its people each step of the way. For this reason, we will continue to stand by the LAF.

This Cessna, that we see here today, will be equipped with HELLFIRE missiles and a daytime/nighttime targeting system.  It will help the LAF support ground troops, combat extremist groups and keep Lebanon's borders secure. The capability that this aircraft brings will further enable you to provide security and stability for all the Lebanese people.

The fleet of aircraft behind me today is a demonstration of how strong our security partnership is, and delivery of these aircraft is just one part of our partnership. We will continue to help with equipment needs, filling gaps in their capabilities.  But more important, we will continue comprehensive training programs and we will share our experiences in both basic and advanced skills. This is a multi-faceted relationship, and multi-faceted effort.

To our friends in the Lebanese Armed Forces, under the strong leadership of General Jean Kahwagi, thank you for your partnership. We are very proud to deliver this Cessna today and we know it will help you in your critical mission of defending the country. We are very proud to be with you here today. General Farah, thank you so much, and I look forward to spending some time with you and seeing the aircraft

Thank you.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Visits the Bekaa Valley

December 15, 2016
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Anne W. Patterson traveled to the Bekaa Valley today. She visited a UNHCR Informal Tented Settlement on the outskirts of Zahle, highlighting U.S. humanitarian assistance to Lebanon and Syrian refugees. 
While there, she met with Syrian refugees, toured U.S. assistance projects, and received a briefing about the humanitarian situation from UNHCR officials. Throughout her visit, she reaffirmed the unwavering U.S. support to Lebanese communities that are struggling to cope with the effects of the Syrian crisis.
While at the Informal Tented Settlement, she delivered the following statement:
Good morning.  My name is Anne Patterson and I’m visiting from the U.S. with my colleague Ambassador Elizabeth Richard to show our support for the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese people, as they have very generously received over a million Syrian refugees into their country, and to also show support for the Syrian people, who are living in very dire conditions and who have been driven from their homeland.  The United States of America will continue its commitment to assist Lebanon and the Syrian refugee population.  We’re the largest donor to Lebanon and indeed to the Syrian refugees in other countries and we will continue our support.  I think at this time of year in particular in the United States and other countries, this touches our hearts to see these conditions and the way these children have been living.  But again, let me stress that we are very appreciative and recognize the generosity of the Lebanese people and these host communities.  The United States is also trying to do our best to help host communities.  We’ve assisted schools in Zahleh, we’ve assisted in water plants and pipelines in Zahleh , and we’ve sent children in Zahleh to schools and elsewhere in Lebanon.  So we realize the sacrifices that the Lebanese people have made and we are trying to do our best to address those.
I want to thank UNHCR and the international community and the very dedicated aid workers and NGO workers who are on the scene here.   I’ve seen this in many other parts of the world and they make huge personal sacrifices to help out refugees and displaced persons all over the world.  So I want to recognize their contributions as well. Thank you.
The United States has provided nearly $1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to host communities and Syrian refugees in Lebanon since the crisis began. The U.S. is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Lebanon and to UNHCR.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard visits the ISF Academy in Aramoun

November 30, 2016

U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard met with the head of the ISF Training Academy, Brigadier General Ahmad Hajjar, on November 30.  They discussed the long-standing collaboration between the United States and Lebanon’s security services and the U.S. Government’s continued support of the training academy.

While visiting the academy in Aramoun, Ambassador Richard viewed the facilities and equipment that have been provided by Department of State’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.    

She also toured the tactical village and the administration building, which were funded by INL, and viewed the newly-donated indoor virtual simulation firing range.  This state of the art system, provided by INL, will enhance the capabilities of ISF trainees in marksmanship, and can also be used for in-service training.

To help strengthen the professional capacity of Lebanese law enforcement, INL has provided $160 million in assistance to the ISF since 2008 as part of the overall U.S. security assistance program to Lebanon. 

Following is a statement that Ambassador Richard gave at the end of the visit:

General Hajjar, I’m so delighted to be here today.  Thank you very much for inviting me.  I am just very very happy to see in action the latest piece of training equipment here and capacity for your training academy.  This is the Milo system which will allow your officers to practice in staged environments, some very real scenarios, and I hope will contribute to their professionalism.  One thing I would like to say is we are very proud of our long association with the ISF, many years now, and almost since 2008 in that period of time we’ve provided more than $160 million in training equipment, the beautiful forensics building and the training village that we saw outside.  I just want to say that this investment is not a gift to Lebanon; it’s not something that we are providing for you; it is a partnership and it’s something that we are using with you.  It is to train ourselves, to learn from each other and to build the capacity of the ISF.  I think something that what we are seeing today, this new system shows that the ISF has come so far over the decades, and what we are talking about now is really a quite a sophisticated level of training and preparation for your officers. And I just want to congratulate you on everything you’ve done as the head of the Academy for the last two years since you’ve been in charge, and I look forward to a really long partnership with you. Thank you very much for inviting us today.