Kerry meets with Lebanese FM in Paris

Published September 15th, 2014 - 02:52 GMT

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Lebanon's role in combating the growing phenomenon of terrorism, on the sidelines of the Paris conference on peace and security in Iraq Monday.

Bassil and Kerry, who met for 25 minutes in the French Foreign Ministry in Paris, also spoke about possible U.S. assistance to Lebanon to combat militants on its territory.

Clashes between the Lebanese Army and jihadists last month in a border town raised concerns that militant groups from Syria sought to bring about a scenario similar to what happened in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS has seized large swaths of territory.

In the aftermath of the deadly clashes, the international community pledged to increase its support for Lebanon in terms of funds and arms for the military.

The U.S. has provided the Army with $19 million in military aid in recent weeks and has vowed to provide the military with additional aircraft to help it defeat militant groups.

Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande said the international community must provide further support to the Lebanese Army in its fight against terrorism.

During a joint press conference with the Iraqi president in Paris, Hollande spoke on the need to fight ISIS wherever it exists.

The comments came at the end of the conference to coordinate international efforts to fight the extremist ISIS group.

Bassil was among foreign ministers of 23 other countries, including Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey at the conference.

Speaking on the situation facing Lebanon, Hollande stressed the need to safeguard the unity and sovereignty of the county, and to help it the Syrian refugee crisis through the International Support Group and the United Nations.

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