Remarks by Ambassador David Hale Following his Meeting with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil

I just had a very productive meeting with my friend Foreign Minister Bassil.  We discussed the continued political and security challenges that Lebanon faces today.  Supporting Lebanon’s policy of dissociation and helping to insulate Lebanon from the spillover of extremism from Syria are important goals for the United States.

Lebanon’s role in the global effort to counter violent extremism is key.  Lebanon’s example of coexistence contrasts with the barbarism of extremists, such as Daesh and al-Nusra, who target Middle Eastern Christians, minorities, women – in fact all of us are targets.  The challenge is complex and multi-faceted, and so is our response.  The strategy to counter and destroy such extremism has five aspects.  In addition to the military effort, there is a global effort to stop the flow of foreign fighters to the area, to cut extremists’ finances, to provide humanitarian relief and support to victims, and to counter extremist propaganda.  Success requires cooperation across the globe.  62 countries have come together in a coalition to put an end to this threat.

Here in Lebanon, we have to be sober.  The risk of spillover of terrorism and extremism from Syria is not over.  And I think it is very important to emphasize that as you face these security challenges, Lebanon has many strengths:

–The Army and the security services have the will and the commitment to defend Lebanon, and are doing so with courage and determination.

–The Lebanese nation is united behind the effort to counter violent extremism.

–You are not alone.  You can count on continuous and meaningful support from America and from others to ensure that you have the means to fight.

–Our common values distinguish us from these barbaric extremists.  These common values are stronger than any false appeal from the extremists; therefore we will prevail.

–Finally, the international community may have differences elsewhere in the region, but we are united in our desire to help Lebanon insulate itself from these external threats and conflicts.

Tackling the threats will not be easy, but I am confident that, together, we can ensure that Daesh will never find safe haven in Lebanon.