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Remarks by Hale on U.S. Assistance to Lebanese Armed Forces

BEIRUT | / NNA - August 14, 2014, 17h29
In light of the latest incidents in Arsal, the US ambassador David Hale on Thursday issued the following statement remarking US support for Lebanon and the Lebanese Army:

"It was just over a week ago that militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Nusra Front attacked the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) in the vicinity of Arsal, killing soldiers and innocent residents, kidnapping security personnel, and forcing many families to flee the area. Though the violence has stopped thanks to the efforts of the LAF, the threat to Arsal and all of Lebanon posed by violent extremists persists.

"The United States has always stood in support of Lebanon's security and stability. We agree with Lebanon's leaders that the state, through the LAF, must be capable of safeguarding Lebanon from the potential acts of terror and violence these groups bring.

"The LAF and other state security institutions have the sole legitimacy to defend Lebanese territory, because they alone are accountable to all the Lebanese people. And in Arsal, they demonstrated the will and the capacity to do precisely that - defend the Lebanese. But help is needed.

"In response to the LAF's request for emergency assistance to protect Lebanon and all Lebanese from these threats, I have just informed Prime Minister Salam and Defense Minister Moqbil, and am pleased to announce, that the United States will soon deliver additional munitions and ordnance for offensive and defensive combat operations by the LAF. This assistance will enhance the LAF's ability to secure Lebanon's borders, protect Lebanon's people, and fight these violent extremist groups. U.S. military assistance will begin arriving in the next few weeks and continue in the months to follow.

"In addition, we are in intensive consultations with the Lebanese government and our partners about how to best respond to additional needs of the LAF.

"Our deliveries are part of a long-standing U.S.-Lebanese military partnership; U.S. assistance has exceeded $1 billion since 2006. Since just last October, the United States has provided more than $120 million worth of training and equipment to the LAF to strengthen its role as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanon's sovereignty. We will add to that number in the coming months, providing urgent assistance as well as long-term capabilities that will enable the Government of Lebanon to implement UN Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701.

"We are proud to be a strong partner of the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces. And we continue to stand with Lebanon and with the LAF and ISF as they protect the country from the spillover of violence from Syria."
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