Today, American Ambassador Elizabeth H. Richard presided over a major delivery of U.S. military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) at the Beirut Port. The shipment, valued at $50 million, provides the LAF with an additional 50 armored Humvees, 40 Howitzer field artillery pieces, 50 MK-19 grenade launchers, and one thousand tons of ammunition, including small, medium, and heavy artillery rounds. Ambassador Richard was accompanied by Brigadier General Manuel Kirejian, LAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Equipment, at the event. This latest shipment demonstrates America’s sustained commitment to providing the LAF with the support it needs as it continues to bravely defend the Lebanese people and territory in the face of extremist threats.
Ambassador Richard made the following statement at the delivery:
“Good morning, everyone. I am delighted to be here with General Kirejian at this ceremony today. The United States is Lebanon’s top security partner. In this year alone we provided over $221 million in equipment and training to the Lebanese security forces. I’d also like to point out that Lebanon is the 5th largest recipient of United States foreign military financing in the world. That shows the level of our commitment here.
What we’re doing today is receiving an entire ship full of equipment that will help the Lebanese Armed Forces fight the fight against extremists and defend the country’s border. Some of the equipment that you see around behind you will help Lebanese soldiers move safely around their area of responsibility. Some of this equipment will let them take the fight to the enemy, helping them go on the offensive. What we have here today is approximately $50 million in equipment – there are 50 Humvees, 40 Howitzers, 50 grenade launchers, and over 1,000 tons of ammunition.
Ladies and gentlemen, I wanted to say that this is a partnership. We are absolutely inspired by the dedication and the determination of Lebanese soldiers. Ordinary people who go out every day to put their lives on the line to defend the Lebanese people and to defend the country. We are also very impressed by the Lebanese Armed Forces’ planning leadership, and the extent to which they have thought through what it is that they really need to succeed. We have tried very hard to respond to (those requests) quickly.
The last thing I wanted to say is the delivery today is substantial. It reflects not only our dedication to stand with Lebanon in the fight of today. We are going to stand with you today, and we’re going to stand with you well into the future as you stand against extremism, and as you stand to defend the way of life that Lebanon knows and loves. So again, we’re very happy to be here today with our partners.
Thank you very much for coming today.