U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller visited Lebanon on November 12 for meetings on regional security, security cooperation, and humanitarian mine action. She met with Prime Minister Tamman Salam, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and Lebanese Army Commander General Jean Kahwagi.
As part of her visit, she also toured the Lebanese Mine Action Center’s (LMAC) mine detection dog facilities at Hammana. The U.S. government supports a range of demining activities in Lebanon, including the Marshall Legacy Institute’s Mine Detection Dog Partnership Program which has trained and delivered 32 dogs to the Lebanese Mine Action Center since 2001. The Under Secretary observed the work of a mine detection dog and her handler as they maneuvered through the LMAC training course and demonstrated evacuation procedures.
Following the demonstration, the Under Secretary Gottemoeller praised the work of the LMAC and highlighted America’s continuing support for demining efforts in Lebanon:
“This program has been such an important success. It is due to of your work, the work of the dogs and their handlers, and the entire team here. Since 1993, [America] has provided $54 million dollars in funding for humanitarian mine action in Lebanon. It is an effort to which we are entirely committed. In 2015, we have an additional $2 million to spend on this program, and so we will be entirely with you and continuing to work with you and your beautiful dogs to carry out this important mission. So a very heartfelt thank you from me and the entire U.S. government.”