For Immediate Release
Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Ambassador Richard H. Jones met on February 4, 2016 with Defense Minister Samir Mokbel as part of his meetings with various Ministries to reiterate the United States’ commitment to a strong partnership with the Lebanese people.
Following is the statement Ambassador Jones gave after the meeting:
Good morning gentlemen.
I just had a very cordial meeting with Minister Mokbel. We reviewed the situation. I congratulated him on the success yesterday in Arsal. I think it shows that the Lebanese Armed Forces has come of age and is doing an excellent job protecting the people of Lebanon and defeating terrorists. I was particularly gratified to learn that there was no loss of life on the side of the Lebanese Army and I think that shows their professionalism. The United States is very pleased to be able to play a small role in helping prepare them through training and through equipment but really the congratulations are due to the Lebanese Armed Forces, the Minister, and the Army Commander, and especially the soldiers who conducted this successful operation. So we’re very pleased by that.
We also talked about our cooperation; I assured the minister that it will continue and only grow stronger I think as the years go by and we’re particularly looking at some of the requests that he and the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces have made. And we’re doing our best to expedite the delivery of those munitions and equipment.
I also would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences to the LAF and to the families of the sailors who so tragically lost their lives recently in the maritime accident. Our sympathies and our hearts are going out to the families of those victims. We’re grateful of course that some of those sailors survived but we grieve for those who lost their lives. Thank you very much.