Today American Ambassador David Hale attended a Live Fire demonstration at the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) base in Taybeh, Baalbek to mark the delivery of over 200 TOW-II Missiles and dozens of launchers to the LAF. The assistance, delivered in late May, is valued at over $10 million and jointly funded by the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Since August 2014, America has provided the LAF with $82.5 million of weapons and ammunition.
Ambassador Hale was accompanied by Brigadier General Maroun Hitti, Deputy Chief of Staff for Planning. Below are Ambassador Hale’s remarks from the event.
First of all, I want to thank General Kahwaji, the commander of the Lebanese Army represented today by General Maroun Hitti, for the opportunity to come out here to the Bekaa Valley and witness first hand just how effective cooperation between the United Sates and Lebanon can be in defeating the terrorist threat that you face across the border. This is a continuous relationship. Today we are celebrating just the latest shipment of U.S. equipment, the arrival of over 200 missiles and dozens of launchers for the Lebanese Army. This equipment has a value of over ten million dollars and is jointly financed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and by the government of the United States. With this demonstration today, we saw just how effective the Lebanese Army is, and the other security services as well. We also saw the talent of the Army’s soldiers who I believe, based on my own firsthand experience of witnessing them, absolutely have the commitment, the will, the determination, and the capacity to defend Lebanon and defend the Lebanese people. The United States has absolute confidence in that. Just as the Lebanese Army is continuing to defend Lebanon, the United States will continue to provide the Lebanese Army with all that it has asked for from the United States using both U.S. financing and generous donations from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We do that because we are absolutely committed to making sure that the Army has the capacity to be the sole defender of Lebanese territory and its borders, and is answerable to the state and to the Lebanese people through the state. This is a long term commitment, and we will stand by Lebanon’s side in this regard until these terrorists are defeated. I am absolutely convinced that the Lebanese Army is committed to defending Lebanon’s borders, and with the means that we are providing them they have the capacity to do so. Thank you very much.