US Pledges Continuous Support to Lebanese Army

 President Michel Aoun with United States Central Command’s Gen. Joseph Votel
President Michel Aoun with United States Central Command’s Gen. Joseph Votel

Beirut – United States Central Command head Gen. Joseph Votel said that Washington would always support the Lebanese Army, noting that the US and Lebanon shared common interests that include defeating ISIS and other terrorist and extremist organizations.

Votel was speaking during a tour on Wednesday in the northeast border town of Arsal. He was accompanied by Lebanese Army Commander Gen. Joseph Aoun and US Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard.

“We have many common interests that include the defeat of ISIS and other violent extremist and terrorist organizations,” he said, adding: “We intend to continue to work together to address these and other challenges.”

The US military official met during his visit to Lebanon with President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil and Speaker Nabih Berri.

He also held talks with Defense Minister Yakoub Sarraf and General Aoun.

“We had very productive conversations and we’ve reaffirmed our shared commitment to ensuring stability and security in this important part of the world,” Votel said in a statement.

He also said he appreciated the opportunity to visit the 9th Brigade in Arsal.

“We thank the Commander and his team for their warm and gracious hospitality. I was proud to meet with some of the soldiers and commanders defending Lebanon’s sovereignty and I’m very impressed to see the progress that they’ve made in securing Lebanon’s borders with Syria,” he stated.

“The Lebanese Armed Forces remain among the most capable and valued partners and we are proud to support them as the sole defenders of Lebanon. We look forward to building upon the strong foundation that exists between our militaries in the coming days,” he added.

Votel continued: “In these challenging times, I remain confident that there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome, so long as we are willing to work together.”

Asharq Al-Awsat