U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Danny Hall met with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail today. He delivered the following remarks after the meeting:
Good afternoon everyone. The Prime Minister and I just finished a productive discussion on a range of issues, including the international response to the refugee crisis. During our meeting, I delivered a letter from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Prime Minister Salam expressing our commitment to helping Lebanon cope with the presence of over one million displaced Syrians here. It underscores our unwavering commitment to support Lebanon during this challenging time.
At the Syria donors’ conference in London on February 4, the U.S. announced over $133 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to support Syrian refugees and their host communities in Lebanon. I am proud to announce today that all of these funds have been provided to the UN and international organizations working in Lebanon. These resources have already helped communities vaccinate children, rehabilitate housing, and improve access to safe water, among other projects. The delivery of the $133 million pledged in London brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance to Lebanon for the Syria crisis to nearly $1.1 billion since the start of the crisis.
The United States is committed to supporting Lebanon’s long-term development needs as well as emergency humanitarian assistance. To that end, the United States provided an additional $65 million in development assistance to Lebanon in 2015. These funds strengthened public services in local municipalities, expanded access to education, improved water infrastructure, and provided other vital services for these Lebanese communities. Since the Syria crisis began, we have contributed over $300 million in bilateral development assistance for Lebanon, and we plan to increase our bilateral assistance even more this year.
The United States applauds Lebanon’s efforts to date in responding to the Syria crisis, and we look forward to taking stock of our mutual commitments and opportunities before us at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23rd and 24th. As we move forward together, America will continue to support Lebanon’s institutions and the Lebanese people each step of the way.