Statement by U/S of State for Political Affairs David Hale Developments in Lebanon

Good morning everyone I am in Lebanon today, at the request of Secretary of State Pompeo, to meet with Lebanese leaders to discuss the current situation here.

My visit reflects the strength of the partnership between our two countries.

I am here to encourage Lebanon’s political leaders to commit to and to undertake meaningful, sustained reforms that can lead to a stable, prosperous, and secure Lebanon.  And that was the content of the conversation that I just had with President Aoun.

It is time to put aside partisan interests and act in the national interest, advancing reforms and forming a government that is committed to undertake those reforms and capable of doing so. We have no role in saying who should lead and comprise such a cabinet. Or indeed any cabinet.

The unified, non-sectarian, and largely peaceful protests over the last 65 days reflect the Lebanese people’s longstanding and frankly legitimate demand for economic and institutional reform, better governance, and an end to endemic corruption.

America calls on the security forces to continue to guarantee the safety of protesters as they engage in peaceful demonstrations, and for restraint by all. Violence has no place in civil discourse.

America wants Lebanon and its people – all of its people – to succeed, and we will remain a committed partner in that effort.

Thank you very much.