Today, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Ambassador Richard Jones attended the graduation ceremony of 40 members of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) from the “Protection of National Leaders” training program. This training, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), is designed to further enhance the operational skills of the ISF’s protective detail teams. Since 2008, the U.S. Department of State’s INL Bureau has invested over $150 million in our security partnership with Lebanon and has collaborated with ISF leadership to train more than 8,000 ISF members.
Below are the Ambassador’s remarks from the event.
Well, good morning everyone and thank you General Hachem for your warm welcome. Members of the ISF, graduates, and American trainers and advisors.
It is a pleasure for me to be here today at the graduation ceremony of the participants in the Protection of National Leaders training. I am excited to be back in Lebanon and to celebrate with you another step forward in the strong security partnership between the United States and Lebanon. .
Today, a little more than a week after the Burj al-Barajneh attacks, our deepest sympathies are with the families of the victims. We stand side by side with the people of Lebanon in condemning such senseless acts of violence and terror. I would also like to commend the ISF and other Lebanese security forces for their quick action in apprehending not only those who were involved in planning and executing these heinous acts, but also many terrorists who were in the process of preparing to commit additional atrocities. These events in Beirut and even more recently in Paris remind us that we must remain strong and united as an international community in the face of those who would seek to threaten our shared human values and way of life.
The purpose of this latest training endeavor between our two countries is to provide the Lebanese ISF members with operational skills related to protecting security teams, building upon the skills and knowledge that they have already acquired.
Our support to the ISF, both in training its officers and providing equipment to its units, is a long-term investment in Lebanese security. Since 2008, the United States has provided over $150 million to train and equip the ISF through the State Department’s Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. INL, as we call it, has collaborated with the ISF leadership to train more than 8,000 ISF members over the past seven years.
The challenges today are many, but America’s commitment to the Lebanese people remains as strong as ever. In fact, that commitment is growing. We will continue to do our part to support your core institutions, like the ISF and the Lebanese Armed Forces among others, so that they may uphold the order and security, protecting the rights of individuals, defending Lebanon against extremist threats foreign and domestic, and protecting your national leaders.
Thank you to everyone who worked to ensure the success of these training sessions. I would like to thank in particular the American trainers and advisors who work closely with our Lebanese partners.
Allow me at this time to recall the sacrifice of your colleagues who so tragically lost their lives in the terror attack a fortnight ago in Jordan. Let us also pay tribute to them and to the other victims of terrorism that we have witnessed in the past period with a moment of silence.
Now it is my honor to join you all in celebrating today’s graduation. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you in advance a happy Independence Day. Wa Shukran (Thank you).