Thank you. Good Morning. I am delighted to be here. I am also representing one of the donors to the Lebanese Mine Action Center. General Nasr, it is my pleasure to be here with you and your staff, and to have the opportunity to hear about the vital work that the Lebanon Mine Action Center is doing to address the humanitarian and economic impacts of landmines and explosive remnants of war. I have learned a lot this morning, and really appreciate being here.
On behalf of the United States, we are proud to be one of the primary contributors to clearance operations in Lebanon. Your efforts have proven to be successful and we will continue to stand by Lebanon in its goal of becoming free of landmines and explosive remnants of past conflicts.
The U.S. Department of State contributed approximately $4.5 million dollars for landmine clearance in Lebanon during 2016. I am pleased to highlight that since 1993, the United States invested over $60 million toward explosive remnants of war clearance and victim assistance in Lebanon.
During the first half of 2017, U.S. funded activities in Lebanon cleared over 239,000 square meters of previously contaminated land and removed 738 landmines and pieces of unexploded ordnance. In addition, U.S. funding also facilitated mine risk education for 664 people and medical treatment, vocational training, and income generating grants to 70 landmine victims.
The LMAC does great work and we’re proud to support their efforts as well as the efforts of our implementing partners in Lebanon, which include Handicap International, Mine Advisory Group, Norwegian People’s Aid, DCA, the Lebanese Association for Mines & Natural Disasters, and the Marshall Legacy Institute.
In closing, I’d like to say, the United States support for Lebanon — whether it is development, economic, military assistance, or working with landmine removal –is based on our shared interest to ensure that Lebanon is stable and prosperous. A Lebanon free of landmines is part of this objective.
On behalf of the American people, I am pleased to once again demonstrate our commitment to support Lebanon, and I urge other governments and donors to continue to do the same. Thank you very much.