Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Ambassador Richard’s Remarks to the Media after Meeting with Prime Minister Hariri

Feb 19 2019
Good afternoon everyone and I am just really delighted to be here back at the Serail to greet the Prime Minister and congratulate him on the new government. It has been a long time coming and we are just thrilled that there is finally a government.

I congratulated the Prime Minister just now on the successful vote of confidence in his new government.  And we reviewed the very broad range of areas in which the United States is already working with Lebanon, and we reviewed what his priorities are going forward.

I was also very frank with the Prime Minister about US concern over the growing role in the Cabinet of an organization that continues to maintain a militia that is not under the control of the government.   That continues to make its own national security decisions – decisions that endanger the rest of the country.  And that continues to violate the government's disassociation policy by participating in armed conflict in at least three other countries.

This state of affairs does not contribute to stability.  In fact, it is fundamentally destabilizing.  Nevertheless, I am very hopeful that Lebanon will not be derailed from the path of progress now before it.   In that spirit, I brought with me today a team of senior U.S. Embassy officials — which includes our Director of USAID for Lebanon, our Defense Attaché, our Refugees Affairs Advisor, and our Counselor for Political and Economic issues

And we came to review the breadth and depth of U.S. support available for education and development; for helping Lebanese communities deal with the unprecedented demands placed on them when their Syrian neighbors fled the brutal Assad's Regime; for building a capable and respected military that protects its citizens under the sovereign control of their elected leaders; and for addressing a range of difficult economic issues.

I told the Prime Minister that the United States is proud to be the largest provider of development, humanitarian, and security assistance to Lebanon.  In just this last year alone, the United States provided more than $825 million in U.S. assistance – and that's an increase over the previous year.

From the time of the first Lebanese who emigrated from Lebanon to the United States in the 1850s, to the establishment by Americans of the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University, to today, as we invest over a billion dollars in a new Embassy compound in Awkar.

We want to continue our longstanding and comprehensive support for Lebanon.  As Secretary Pompeo said just very recently, "We are partners with Lebanon to achieve a good outcome for the people of Lebanon."

Thank you very much. I am very happy to be back here at the Serail helping the government get to work.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The U.S. Delivers APKWS Rockets to the LAF

The United States is pleased to announce the delivery today of the shipment of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rockets, valued at more than $16 million, destined for the Lebanese Armed Forces.  These APKWS laser-guided rockets are a key component for the Lebanese Air Force's new A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

Today's delivery demonstrates the U.S. government's firm and steady commitment to support to the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole, legitimate defender of Lebanon.

Since 2005, the United States has invested over $2 billion in our strong partnership with the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Near East: Formation of a New Government in Lebanon

Press Statement
Robert Palladino 
Deputy Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 1, 2019

The United States welcomes Lebanon's announcement of the formation of a new government and congratulates President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri on this historic occasion. We commend Lebanese leaders for working collectively to overcome the political obstacles that prolonged this process, and we look forward to engaging with the new Lebanese government to strengthen further our bilateral relationship. In this regard, the Secretary looks forward to traveling to Lebanon.

Nevertheless, we are concerned that Hizballah, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, will continue to occupy ministerial positions and was allowed to name the Minister of Public Health. We call on the new government to ensure the resources and services of these ministries do not provide support to Hizballah.

We look to all parties in the new government to uphold Lebanon's policy of disassociation from regional conflicts and its international obligations, including those contained in UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) 1559 and 1701. In this regard, we welcome Lebanese leaders' recent statements committing to abide by UNSCR 1701 and appreciate their recent efforts to avoid escalating tensions along the Blue Line. We hope Lebanon's new government will take urgent action to implement meaningful measures necessary to improve Lebanon's difficult economic situation.

The United States reaffirms its strong support for Lebanon's security, stability, and sovereignty and will continue to stand with the Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese people as they build a stable and prosperous future.