Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Assistant to the President John Brennan Visits Lebanon Consults with Leaders

On April 26-27, 2010 Assistant to the President and Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan visited Lebanon as part of a visit to several countries in the region. In Lebanon, Mr. Brennan met with Lebanese government representatives, including President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Ali El-Chami, Minister of Defense Elias El-Murr and Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud and discussed the United States' continuing support for Lebanon as the Lebanese government seeks to strengthen state institutions, build peace and stability within Lebanon, and contribute to peace and stability throughout the region. Mr. Brennan also met with Commander Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) General Jean Kahwagi and Director General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) General Achraf Rifi. Mr. Brennan expressed that the United States is fully committed to strengthening its partnership with the Government of Lebanon and its security forces.

Mr. Brennan reiterated that the United States hopes and expects that the Government of Lebanon will exercise its legitimate authority over all of Lebanon and that the only legitimate weapons in the country are those held by the Lebanese state or authorized by UNIFIL. Calling it a threat to the stability and security of Lebanon and the region, Mr. Brennan expressed concern about recent reports about the smuggling of weapons to Hizballah through Syria. He also repeated America’s commitment to the enforcement of pertinent U.N. Security Council resolutions, including UNSCRs 1559 and 1701, to end weapons smuggling and disarm all militias. Mr. Brennan also conveyed the continuing support of the United States and the international community to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, calling its work essential to end the impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon. The United States is confident that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will bring to justice those responsible for financing, planning, and carrying out the assassination of former Prime Minister Hariri.