US Chargé d’Affaires and interim Ambassador Richard Jones announced on Thursday that the United States has delivered a shipment of three Huey II helicopters to the Lebanese Armed Forces at the Beirut Air Base as part of a US Military assistance valued at $26 million, a U.S. Embassy statement said.
Brigadier General Manuel Kirejian, Director of the LAF Logistics Brigade, represented LAF Commander Jean Qahwaji.
“The arrival of three Huey II helicopters demonstrate America’s continued commitment to support the modernization of the Lebanese Armed Forces’ airlift capacity,” said Jones.
“They significantly expand the army’s aerial capabilities and range, and improve the Lebanese army’s ability to quickly and efficiently transport reinforcement troops to remote areas of tension along the border in support of the army’s fight against terrorists and extremists. With the addition of these three helicopters to its fleet, the Lebanese army now possesses nine Huey II multi-mission helicopters provided by the United States,” added the ambassador.
“Today’s delivery demonstrates America’s sustained commitment to ensure the Lebanese Armed Forces has the support it needs to be the sole defender of Lebanese territory. Since 2004, America has provided over $1.3 billion in security assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces, including both training and equipment. We have no plans to slow down or alter that level of support. In fact, America has also recently delivered an additional weapons system for Lebanon’s fixed-wing aircraft fleet as well as more ammunition requested by the Lebanese army,” stressed Jones.
Emphasizing the U.S. confidence in the army's determination to defend Lebanon Jones said: “I want to state clearly that the Lebanese-American security relationship has never been stronger than it is today, due to its strong foundation of partnership and shared values.
“The United States has absolute confidence in the army’s commitment, determination, and capacity to defend Lebanon and defend the Lebanese people against terrorist threats. This is why the American people are providing you with the weapons and munitions that you have requested, on an expedited basis. Just as the Lebanese army is continuing to defend Lebanon, you can count on America to continue to support the LAF’s needs,” concluded the ambassador.
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