Lebanon: US has pledged over $100M in assistance

Published February 9th, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
Lebanon is host to about 1.1 million Syrians registered with UNHCR who have arrived since the onset of the country’s civil war in 2011. (Wikimedia Commons)
Lebanon is host to about 1.1 million Syrians registered with UNHCR who have arrived since the onset of the country’s civil war in 2011. (Wikimedia Commons)

The United States has pledged over $100 million in humanitarian and development assistance to Lebanon, the U.S. envoy said Monday, reaffirming American support to the country in various fields.

“At the donor’s conference, the United States pledged an additional $133 million in humanitarian assistance which will be used in Lebanon, as well as more than $290 million in development assistance which will be used for education in Lebanon and in Jordan,” U.S. Charge d’Affaires and interim Ambassador Richard Jones said after meeting Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail.

“The United States is among the largest donors to Lebanon, having given over a billion dollars in humanitarian assistance through the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and USAID’s Food for Peace Program since 2012,” Jones added.

Salam Thursday expressed his satisfaction with the results of the London Syria donor conference that raised $11 billion for Syrian humanitarian needs over the next four years.

But he said that Lebanon did not yet know its share of the $11 billion pledged at the donors’ conference.

Lebanon is host to about 1.1 million Syrians registered with UNHCR who have arrived since the onset of the country’s civil war in 2011. The large number of refugees has placed an enormous strain on Lebanon’s infrastructure and economy, and also exacerbated social tensions.

“With the additional funding, the United Nations and international economic partners of Lebanon can continue to deliver shelter assistance, food voucher debit cards, education, health care, cash assistance for emergency needs, and basic relief items like blankets and so on for refugees,” Jones said.

“The additional funding, however, will also support vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating the municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers, providing supplies and new equipment to health clinics and improving school facilities,” he added.

Besides humanitarian assistance, he said the U.S. remained committed to supporting the Lebanese Army.

“We commend the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Armed Forces for their decisive action against violent extremist groups. We are proud partners of the LAF and are committed to strengthening this partnership. This is why Lebanon has become the sixth-largest recipient of United States military assistance in the world. We have provided Lebanon over $1.4 billion in assistance since 2005,” Jones said.

The diplomat said his country was pleased with the recent visit Army Commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi paid to the U.S.

He said the visit “highlighted the importance of our continued security relationship and we’re looking forward to visits from the Parliament and from the minister of finance to Washington.”

“We believe that these visits are important to contribute to the national dialogue which will help the United States understand better Lebanon’s needs so that we can continue and shape our assistance to be as beneficial as possible to the Lebanese people.”

Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil is preparing to visit the U.S. to tackle sanctions against Hezbollah.

In December, U.S. lawmakers unanimously passed a bill to tighten financial sanctions against the group. It was swiftly signed into law by President Barack Obama.

In January, the U.S. Treasury Department also sanctioned two Lebanese men suspected of laundering money for Hezbollah.

Later Monday, Jones discussed with Khalil his preparations to visit the U.S. and the outcome of the London conference. The envoy also met Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk.


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