Deputy Secretary William J. Burns Visits Lebanon
Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns completed his visit to Lebanon today and met with senior officials to discuss the political and security situation in Lebanon, developments in Syria, and other regional issues.
Deputy Secretary Burns met with President of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, and Lebanese Armed Forces Commander General Jean Kahwagi.
Deputy Secretary Burns reiterated the United States’ strong, continuing commitment to a stable, sovereign, and independent Lebanon and welcomed efforts made by the Lebanese government and political leaders, as well as the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces, to work together to maintain calm in Lebanon.
He further welcomed Lebanon’s payment of its 2012 contributions to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as an important demonstration of its respect for Lebanon’s international commitments. The work of the Tribunal is a chance for Lebanon to move beyond its long history of impunity for political violence.
Deputy Secretary Burns acknowledged Lebanon’s disassociation policy and reiterated U.S. interest in keeping Lebanon insulated from the violence in Syria. He welcomed the generosity of the Lebanese people and the efforts of the government to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced Syrians in Lebanon and encouraged the government to continue to work with the international community to assist those in need. He stressed the importance of protecting all displaced Syrians, including dissenters and deserters who have rejected violence, in keeping with Lebanon’s international humanitarian obligations.