The devastating conflict in Syria, which has taken the lives of 220,000 people and displaced 11.6 million people inside Syria and beyond its borders has affected all of its neighbors, and Lebanon is no exception. One in four people living in Lebanon today are refugees from the conflict in Syria, severely straining government and community resources to support them.
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri met April 22 with Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials during a week-long visit to Washington. In remarks to the press welcoming Mr. Hariri, Secretary Kerry praised him for his moderation and “thoughtful political compromise.” Mr. Kerry noted that the former Lebanese prime minister and head of Lebanon’s Future Movement party remains active and important to the politics of his country.
Secretary of State Kerry emphasized that the United States is committed to Lebanon’s stability and security. “We’re anxious to see the presidency ultimately filled, and to try to see the effects of Daesh and Nusrah and Syria moved away from Lebanon, so that Lebanon can really have its sovereignty respected and its future protected and guaranteed,” Mr. Kerry said.
He spoke further of the challenges faced by Lebanon: “We are very opposed to entities like Hezballah and others using locations and places in Lebanon and nearby as pawns in this struggle. And we call on Iran and the Assad regime and others to respect the integrity of Lebanon and permit it and its people to be able to find the peace and the stability that they have longed for so long.”
Secretary of State Kerry reiterated U.S. support for the Lebanese Armed Forces and for “the forces of moderation and those who want to work together peacefully to provide the future that the people of Lebanon deserve.”