- Press Release -
Media & Public Relation Office
Washington DC September 19, 2005
US Administration officials discuss the Lebanese situation with the leadership of the American Lebanese Coalition (ALC).
A delegation of the American Lebanese Coalitionís (ALC) comprising ALC President Dr. Joseph Gebeily and Vice Presidents Messrs. Joseph Hage and Milad Zohrob with Board members Dr. Elie Semaan and Mr. Adel Sleiman, and accompanied by Mr. Walid Maalouf Director of Public Diplomacy for Middle Eastern & MEPI Affairs at USAID visited the Office of the Vice President and met with the VPís Senior Advisers for Foreign Policy.
The discussion focused on the positive changes which have been taking place lately in Lebanon from restoring its sovereignty to holding its first free elections in 33 years. The delegation thankfully recognized the efforts of the Administration in supporting peace and stability in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon, in spreading Democracy and Freedom in the Arab World, and in promoting inter-religious dialogue and coexistence. The ALC delegation raised some concerns regarding current security, political and economic issues within Lebanon and offered suggestions to help resolving those challenges.
The next visit was at the National Security Council at the White House where the delegation met with Dr. Michael Doran Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, and Mr. Tim Pounds in charge of the Lebanon-Syria Desk at NSC. The stability and security of Lebanon were discussed, especially the concerns about the continuous presence of armed groups and militias supported by Syria and Iran, which constitute a direct threat to the recovery of the Lebanese Nation.
The Honorable Scott Carpenter Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Near East affairs received the delegation at the Department of State. Political, Economic and Security issues were addressed at length, stressing the fact that the Lebanese were able throughout their history to work out their differences in a peaceful manner when left without the destructive regional interference. The economic aspect of the discussion focused on ways the USA can help Lebanonís reconstruction and economic reforms. All present agreed that the electoral reform is a much needed step in ensuring the proper representation of the different socio-cultural components of the Lebanese society. Mr. Carpenter reiterated the Administrationís support for the implementation of UNSC Resolutions regarding Lebanon, particularly 1559 and 1614.
At the Department of Defense, the Honorable Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary of Defense recognized the importance of a free and sovereign Lebanon for the success of the war on terror and the democratization of the region, the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon being the first step. The disarming of the militias, Lebanese and non-Lebanese, constitute the next condition for peace and stability. The recovery process should take shape according to the wishes of Lebanese people, the US standing ready to help in various ways. The delegation reiterated once again its support to the Administrationís stand on the war on terror, the advancement of freedom, and the protection of our homeland. Participated in the meeting Mr. David Schenker, Levant Country Director at the Department of Defense.
All Officials met recognized the value of Lebanon as a pluralistic, democratic nation in promoting peace, moderation and co-existence in that part of the World, and stressed the commitment of the US Administration to a free and sovereign Lebanon.
A Report on the current situation in Lebanon with policy suggestions was presented by the ALC to the different departments
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