Within the framework of the High Level Steering Committee, British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter, and the US Ambassador Elizabeth Richard met the Lebanese Army Commander Joseph Aoun to discuss the security of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the recent army operation ‘Fajr El Jouroud’.
The discussions focused on the Lebanese Army’s plan to secure 100% of the Lebanese-Syrian border by 2019. During the meeting, Ambassador Shorter announced £1.8 million and Ambassador Richard undertook to provide US support to help the Lebanese Army secure the newly liberated border areas east of Jouroud el Qaa and Ras Baalbeck. This funding and support will help the LAF construct and equip Protected Border Observation Posts and Forward Operating Bases throughout this area. The UK has committed over £60 million to this project, with significant contributions from the US, and support from other partners.
Ambassador Shorter also announced additional UK resources to help the LAF open routes through the significant fields of Daesh explosive ordnance, and discussed what could be provided to clear these ordnances, and help return this area to its previous use as agricultural land. Throughout the project so far, over 70% of the Syrian-Lebanon border has been secured, and an increased sense of security has given many Lebanese the chance to resume their daily lives, and return to their homes and land not seen in years.
After the meeting Ambassador Shorter said:
It is always a privilege to meet the Commander of the Lebanese Army General Joseph Aoun and discuss progress on the Land Border Project to which the UK has committed over £60 million. The Lebanese Army has developed and modernised over the past ten years, to become a respected, professional army that has shown it is able to protect Lebanon from the biggest threat it faces, terrorism, both on the borders and inside Lebanon.
I am also pleased that the UK and the US will help the LAF construct border towers and Forward Operating Bases in the areas of Qaa and Ras Baalbeck liberated in ‘Fajr el Jouroud’. We are also offering new UK expertise on explosive hazards clearance.
We remain proud partners of the Lebanese army and we look forward to strengthening our military and security relations even further.