Thursday, November 12, 2009

Delegation from U.S. Congress Looks to Strengthen Ties with Lebanese Parliament

On November 10-11, 2009, a delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Lebanon as a continuation of the partnership between the U.S. Congress and the Lebanese National Assembly. Representative David Price from North Carolina, the Chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), expressed his pleasure at being able to visit Lebanon again in order to further Congress' "engagement with the National Assembly and reaffirm its support for a strong and vibrant Lebanese democracy," calling the visit an " opportunity to meet with our fellow legislators, share our common experiences and challenges, and discuss ways in which we can work together to strengthen our democratic institutions."

The delegation met with majority and opposition deputies and discussed institutional development issues facing the Lebanese Parliament. Both sides discussed deeper cooperation between members of the U.S. Congress and Lebanese deputies, as well as ways to strengthen support between the two institutions as a whole. Also at Parliament, professional U.S. staff members from Congressional committees met with their Lebanese counterparts to discuss ways in which committee staffers support legislators in Lebanon and the United States.

Representative David Dreier, the ranking Republican member of the HDP from California, said that the members of the delegation "believe very strongly that an effective, independent legislature is an essential component to sustainable democratic development. It is our hope that through this partnership with the National Assembly, we can both strengthen the U.S.-Lebanon relationship and provide support to the Lebanese people in their efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous democracy."

The delegation also held meetings with President Michel Sleiman, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, and former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and expressed to them their congratulations to the Lebanese people on the formation of the new Lebanese cabinet.

Also traveling to Lebanon as part of the delegation were, Representatives Lois Capps of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Charles Boustany, Jr., from Louisiana.

Embassy Of The United States. Beirut. Lebanon - Press Release